Have you or a loved one recently moved to Georgia? Many people move to our lovely state for the lower cost of living and favorable climate. But often, it is also to be closer to family and caregivers.
Just prior to or after moving to Georgia, it is important to review your existing legal documents. After establishing residency in Georgia, you may find it helpful to consult with an elder law attorney to discuss what legal documents you may need to execute or update to comply with Georgia law.
The documents you want to make sure are checked and up to date are:
Georgia Advance Directive for Health Care
This four-part document can:
- Appoint someone to make health care decisions for you when you are unable.
- Allow you to express your preferences for specific types of medical care when you are facing a terminal disease or in a state of permanent unconsciousness.
- Indicate your preference regarding organ donation and your final wishes (burial, cremation, donation).
- Nominate a Guardian if one is ever needed.
General Durable Power of Attorney
The General Durable Power of Attorney authorizes someone to handle your financial affairs. This document allows someone to act for you should you lose the capacity to make financial decisions.
Without a general durable power of attorney, a conservator may have to be appointed by a Georgia probate court in order for a caregiver to handle their loved one’s finances. This is a long, costly court proceeding that will keep the court involved in each subsequent decision. Planning prior to the loss of capacity can avoid such a painful process.
Wills and Trusts
These are tools that allow you to pass assets to beneficiaries, to provide for easier management of assets during incapacity, to protect your entitlements to public benefits and for effective tax planning. If there is an existing will or trust it should be reviewed once residency is established.
Tips for a New Georgia Resident
- If a loved one is under a Guardianship/ Conservatorship (or both) in another state and subsequently relocates to Georgia, a transfer must be done through the Probate Court in the county where the Ward resides.
- Determine whether your Medicare supplemental insurance has providers near your home in Georgia.
- A move to Georgia may result in changes to the cost of medications, Medicare supplements, or other recurring medical expenses. You may have sold or rented real estate prior to your move. These changes may impact existing VA benefits or eligibility for Medicaid. An elder law attorney can analyze the impact of these changes and advise you how to proceed.
Helpful Resources for New Residents:
Social Security – 1-800-772-1213 | If a new resident is receiving benefits an address change as well as direct deposit changes can be made at: www.socialsecurity.gov/faq
Veteran’s Benefits – 1-800-827-1000 | To change your address for VA benefits, you must either send a signed letter to the VA regional office that has your records or contact them at the number listed above. You can find the VA regional offices at www.va.gov/directory
Identification Cards and/or Driver’s License | (404) 657-9300 – www.dds.ga.gov
Vehicle Registration in Georgia | 877-423-6711 – www.etax.dor.ga.gov
Voter Registration in Georgia | 404-656-2871 – www.sos.georgia.gov/elections
Hurley Elder Care Law has created some resources to help you make a move to Georgia as smooth as possible. You can find our Welcome to Georgia and Being Prepared Checklist on our website resource page. Please call us at 404-843-0121 to help you update or create your new Georgia estate plan.
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