This time of year brings families together to enjoy food, fellowship, and maybe even a little football. Whether your Thanksgiving involves a small gathering of close friends or a large get-together with distant relatives, this is a time to be thankful for all of those loved ones in our lives. As you meet with your loved ones, it is a great opportunity to think about your estate plan. Being around your family may help you evaluate who would best serve in certain roles or who may need some extra protection in the future.
While your estate plan may not be your first concern, having an estate plan in place should be a priority. After all, having an estate plan in place can provide you with the peace of mind that your loved ones are cared for. You may be wondering what exactly makes up an estate plan? In its most basic form an estate plan is comprised of legal documents that explain where you want your assets to go or who you want to make decisions on your behalf if you are unable to do so.
A last will and testament is one of the most important parts of an estate plan. In its most basic form, a will documents where a person’s assets should pass upon death. However, a will does much more including the ability to set up a trust, nominate a trustee to manage the trust, nominate a guardian for any minor children, and nominate a potential executor of the estate. Communicating these decisions to any family members can allow for a helpful discussion and can eliminate any surprises down the road.
Another important document that can comprise an estate plan is a power of attorney. A power of attorney allocates the ability or authority to act on another’s behalf. For instance, a power of attorney may enable someone else to handle your finances. This document can be drafted to provide a wide range of powers to another individual including everything from banking to deeding property. A power of attorney can also be drafted to become effective only during certain circumstances like the incapacity of the individual. When talking with your loved ones, you may want to consider who may best serve as power of attorney.
An advance health care directive is another important document that can comprise an estate plan. This directive provides what type of care that you may want in a given situation if you were unable to make those decisions regarding your health care. A living will is a type of advance health care directive. These documents can ensure that you are given the care that you so desire. Openly discussing these decisions can provide peace of mind to loved ones knowing that your wishes are met.
There are also a number of other estate planning documents that may be suited for you and your family depending on the particular situation. If you or your loved ones have questions about estate planning in Tennessee, contact The Higgins Firm. Our Nashville based estate planning attorneys would be happy to speak with you.