It’s January! New Year’s resolutions are in full swing. We are collectively hitting the gym and committed to our diets (for now).
Here is another resolution you might want to consider: let 2017 be the year you (finally) get your estate plan in order. Most of my will clients tell me they have been intending to prepare their estate plan for months, even years. It’s just not the kind of thing that we often have time to put on the front burner.
In fact, surveys consistently show that more than half of American adults do not have a will or other estate plan in place. This is true even though statistics show approximately 100% of American adults will one day pass away.
A few realities are worth considering, that may light a fire of action for you or your loved ones. If you pass away in Tennessee without a will or trust in place:
- State law will determine who inherits your property, not you.
- A judge will determine who administers your estate without input from you.
- If you have minor children, you will have no say over how your property is distributed to them or held in trust for them, and no say over who is in charge of that trust.
- If you have minor children, you will have no say over who is appointed guardian of your children, should both parents be deceased, (unless you specified that wish in another document). A will is an appropriate place to appoint successor guardians for your minor children.
If you have a complicated, or blended family situation, family members who have significant problems or spending issues, have particularly valuable personal property, or have minor children or grandchildren, it could be particularly important that you prepare an estate plan that is right for you and your situation. Your attorney can help you establish a trust for family members who should not receive a lump sum, set up a trust and designate guardians for your minor children, and be sure that your own children are not left in the cold in favor of your spouse’s children if you pass away first.
Seeing a Tennessee estate planning attorney will have several benefits. Not only can you get the documents you need, it is also a good opportunity to organize the range of your assets, get documentation together in one place, think about assets you may not even recall that you have, and put a plan in place that will let you and your family rest easy knowing a plan is in place.
Fortunately, the process of obtaining an estate planning consultation, a will and other essential estate planning documents (medical power of attorney, financial power of attorney, and living will) from a Tennessee estate planning attorney is not difficult. Most attorneys make the process as convenient and cost-effective as possible, including home visits where necessary and flat fee prices so you will know ahead of time what costs to expect.
Please contact us today online or by calling 800.705.2121 to discuss your legal options.