Recently, attorney Jim Higgins appeared on Nashville’s WSMV to talk about what happens when someone passes away without a will. Although there are a number of benefits to having a will in place, it is not the end of the world if you do not have one. The important difference when someone dies without a will in place is that the state determines where the decedent’s assets will go rather than the specific person before his or her passing. Tennessee state law has set forth where the assets should be distributed based solely upon family relationships rather than any specific need that a certain family may have. Obviously, people have the ability to determine where they want their assets to go, and a will serves that very purpose. However, in leaving such an important decision up to state statutes, there is not the flexibility to determine where you want any of your stuff to go after you’re gone. If you have any questions about any probate matters in Tennessee, be sure to contact the Nashville probate attorneys at The Higgins Firm.
Recently attorney Jim Higgins stopped by WSMV’s Better Nashville to discuss essential documents that every family should resolve to have this year. Those essential documents include a last will and testament, a power of attorney, and a living will. There are any number of reasons why you may put off these drafting legal documents. However, these legal documents are not expensive, and they provide your family the protection that they deserve. You can watch the interview with attorney Jim Higgins below. If you have any questions about a will, power of attorney, or living will for your family, be sure to contact The Higgins Firm today. One of our estate lawyers would be happy to provide you with any answers.
Now that we have entered 2014, you may or may not still be keeping your New Year’s resolutions. Hopefully, your resolutions are going strong and you have developed great habits throughout your life. However, if you have already slipped back into the habit of eating a little more junk food than you planned on doing, that does not mean that you should give up on all of your plans for this year. Similarly, you should resolve to review your estate planning documents. There are a number of reasons why you should periodically review your estate planning documents. Doing so can make sure that you are set for 2014 and beyond.
Reviewing Your Will Following Major Life Changes
It is always important to review your will following any of your major life changes. Whether you recently had a child, got married, or lost a loved one, each of these major life events can impact your will. As a result, you should review your will for any potential updates that need to be made. If you’ve recently had or adopted a child, you should update your will. Similarly, if you have gotten married, you will want to add your spouse to your will.
Although a will can provide a number of advantages, the majority of Americans do not even have a will. This situation is even more prevalent among younger adults. Only one in six people between the ages of 18 and 34 actually have a will. There are obviously a number of reasons as to why many of those people do not have a will. Whether people are unaware of the advantages, want to spend the money elsewhere, or even do not want to think about the possibility of death, it is important that people understand the benefits of having a will and what having one can do for you.
One benefit to having a will is determining who will be the legal guardian of your children upon your death. This is a very important aspect to those who have minor children. The legal guardian is responsible for the care of your children until they reach the age of majority which is 18 in Tennessee. By explicitly specifying who you want to be the legal guardian, you eliminate any confusion or controversy that would have to be settled by the court. Without a will, the court will appoint a guardian for your children. While the court uses a number of factors to make the determination of a guardian, a parent’s choice can avoid any potential problems with such a large decision.
Similarly, having a will helps to quell any potential disagreements or disputes between family and friends as to the distribution of your assets. The death of a loved one can be an extremely trying and difficult time. Unfortunately, relationships can be strained very easily in such a stressful time even by a disagreement over the distribution of assets and money. Family members may seek to lay claim over certain family heirlooms while others similarly desire the same items. A will can act as a preventative measure to solve these types of problems even before they begin.