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Estate Planning

Peace of Mind for Tomorrow

Do you know what would happen legally – to you, your loved ones, your money and everything else you care about – if something unexpected happened to you? If you do not have an estate plan, or have one that’s out of date, your assets could be lost to the State Department of Unclaimed Property, or be tied up unnecessarily in a Court process. Regardless of a person’s wealth or family situation, everyone needs an estate plan.
The foundation of your estate plan will often include a revocable living trust–you would transfer your property into this trust for your benefit during your life. One of the benefits of a revocable living trust is that when done correctly and maintained over time, your estate plan will help avoid the cost and delay of probate and minimize or eliminate estate taxes.
Grandma and grandson smiling in the garden

Americans are more concerned than ever about protecting their assets from creditor claims, taxes, divorce and other disasters, and rightly so. The more success you have–especially in business, professional practice or real estate activities–the more at risk you are, as others see your success grow.

Divorce, inheritance, health issues, creditors, employees, theft, changing markets, malpractice suits, sexual harassment claims, natural disasters and disgruntled business partners are just a few issues that can result in devastating lawsuits for unprepared business owners. The highest level of risk falls on those who think they are immune.

Reason For Asset Protection:

  • Will you be signing loan documents, a personal guaranty or a lease?
  • Do you have rental properties or employees?
  • Are you an attorney or a physician?
  • Do you work in construction or perform professional services?
  • Are you getting married and have children from a prior marriage, or separate property assets you are bringing into the marriage?

Planning Includes:

  • Determination of the appropriate level of asset protection planning for each client’s particular circumstances.
  • Consideration of insurance, prenuptial agreements, asset segregation, choice of jurisdiction, gifting, LLCs, partnerships, corporations, and asset protection trusts.
  • Customized combinations are then layered in, depending on the needs of the client and as appropriate.
Happy Family standing in front of modern home

“Did you know that 69% of parents have not yet named guardians for their kids?”

If you are a parent, your estate plan must begin with your children being taken care of by the people you want, in the way you want, no matter what happens. At The Saunders firm, one of our areas of greatest expertise is planning for the well-being and care of the children you love.


  • Your children could be placed into Child Protective Services (CPS) even if you have a will in place, and even if you have a living trust while your legal documents or located or your family is identified. Or worse, your kids could be left in the care of the one person in your family you would never want to raise them.
  • A Judge who doesn’t know you, or your family, will decide who will raise your kids, even if it’s the last person you would ever want to do so.
  • Approximately 5% of the total value of your assets could be lost due to probate, a court process that can tie up your assets for months or years and deprive your kids of the resources they need to live comfortably.
  • When your kids turn 18, they get a check for whatever assets are left – outright with no protection.
  • There are unscrupulous people who make it their business to review public records to find out which 18-year-olds are coming into money.
  • The vast majority of estate planning attorneys simply do not address these issues and do not plan from a parent’s perspective.

Kids Protection Plan

  • A Kids Protection Plan® is a set of instructions, legal documents and ID card
  • If you are in an accident, this customized plan will make sure your children are never taken into the custody of Child Protective Services, strangers or the care of anyone you wouldn’t want because the authorities don’t have clear instructions from you.
  • Your plan will ensure your children are raised by people you choose, not someone chosen by a Judge who doesn’t know you.
Business people Shaking Hands

Estate planning for a family with special needs children comes with a complex set of financial, social, and medical issues that some lawyers are ill-equipped to handle. The experienced special needs planning attorneys with the Saunders Law Firm are dedicated to ensuring your child with special needs will be well taken care of when you’re no longer able to serve as the primary caregiver.

We offer a variety of estate planning tools and strategies designed to accommodate the unique circumstances presented by children with special needs and their families in Georgia. We can help you pass on the financial assets needed for your child to live a rich quality of life without jeopardizing their eligibility for government benefits. We’ll also assist you in finding and appointing a trusted guardian and/or trustee to look after them in the event of your death or incapacity. And we’ll help with locating the best residential opportunities—as well as the means to pay for them.

Special Needs Trust

One “Catch-22-like” situation surrounding estate planning for those with special needs is how to leave enough money to pay for the massive amount of care and support these individuals typically need throughout their lifetimes. Parents may leave a large lump sum of money directly to a child with special needs, which may risk disqualifying him or her for government benefits like Medicaid and Supplemental Social Security Income.

Fortunately, the government allows assets to be held in what’s known as a “special needs trust” to provide supplemental financial resources for the physically, mentally, or developmentally disabled child without affecting their eligibility for public healthcare and income assistance benefits. That said, the rules for such trusts are quite complicated.


Given this, it’s vital to work with an experienced special needs attorney who can create a comprehensive special needs trust that’s both properly structured and appropriate for your child’s specific situation.