According to a 2020 Estate Planning and Wills study from Caring.com, only 32% of American adults have a will, trust, or estate planning document in place. Not having an adequate estate plan can present a major challenge for any of your surviving loved ones when trying to distribute your estate to any heirs and beneficiaries when settling your final affairs after you’re gone. No matter how straightforward your end-of-life care may seem or how small or big your estate is, you can prepare for life's uncertainties and protect your assets by having a strategic estate plan in place.
If you are considering drafting a will or trust, or want to learn more about how the estate planning process works, it is crucial that you speak with a knowledgeable Tennessee estate planning attorney for proper guidance. With over 40 years of combined legal experience, our highly-skilled attorneys at McCarter | East PLLC can help you understand your estate planning options and guide you through each step of the process. We can offer you the comprehensive legal guidance and advocacy you need in a wide range of estate planning matters, including the drafting of any documents for a trust, will, power of attorney, advanced care directive, or any special needs planning.
McCarter | East PLLC is proud to serve individuals and families throughout Murfreesboro and Berry Hill, Tennessee.
Why Estate Planning is Important
Upon death or sudden incapacitation, estate planning can help identify heirs and beneficiaries, as well as outline how the estate's assets and properties will be transferred to them. Estate planning is crucial for several reasons, and can help you with the following:
Prepare for the uncertainties of life
Choose your personal representative
Protect your assets, property, investment, and surviving loved ones
Protect and ensure that your minor children are taken care of
Ensure that you have a say in who inherits your property and assets
Ensure that your surviving family members are provided for
Reduce the amount of taxes on your estate
Help beneficiaries and heirs avoid estate and gift taxes
Avoid the lengthy and expensive probate process
Avoid family conflicts and disputes over property distribution
Protect your assets and property from creditors
Ensure that you do not die intestate (without a will)
Avoid conservatorship (should you become incapacitated) and allow a trusted person to make healthcare, personal, and property decisions on your behalf
Important Estate Planning
Documents to Consider
If you're planning to draft an estate plan, there are a variety of different documents to consider. Depending on the unique circumstances of your situation, here are some of the documents that you may want to consider:
A will can be described as a legal document containing certain instructions about how your assets should be disposed of or transferred to your heirs and beneficiaries after you pass. You can also name a guardian to protect, support, and manage the interests and affairs of your minor children and any property that you leave behind for them.
A trust is a fiduciary relationship that allows a person to appoint someone to help transfer assets to any beneficiaries or heirs and settle their final affairs upon death. Once you pass or after sudden incapacitation, the appointed trustee steps in and begins administering your estate in accordance with the terms and provisions outlined by the trust created by you.
Powers of Attorney
A power of attorney gives a person of your choosing the power and duty to act on your behalf for financial and legal matters after you’re gone. Such a person may be your advisor, attorney, friend, or a trusted family member.
Special Needs Planning
Special needs planning is a fiduciary relationship that allows an individual to appoint a trusted person to manage any asset or funds they intend to leave behind for a minor child or incapacitated adult who may not be able to otherwise manage such assets or funds themselves as a result of a disability.
Advance Healthcare Directive
An advance healthcare directive is a legal document that allows a person to decide what steps should be taken for their health when they are unable to make such decisions by themselves, typically due to sudden incapacitation, disability, or terminal illness.
Personal Property Memorandum
The personal property memorandum allows a person to gift important personal property items such as artwork, furniture, jewelry, and other belongings that may not be covered in their will.
Letter of Intent
At times, you may not be able to write your wishes or provide instructions using your will. Using the letter of intent, you can inform your surviving loved ones of the things you hope they do after your passing. The letter of intent can cover financial information, instructions, requests, and other critical confidential information that may not be included in your trust or will.
Additional Documents that You Should Prepare
Some other documents to include in your estate plan include:
Real estate deeds
Life insurance policies
Bills and accounts
Stocks, bonds, and mutual funds
Birth and adoption certificates
Pension or retirement accounts
Work With Experienced Estate Planning
Attorneys in Murfreesboro, Tennessee
It’s never too early or too late to begin preparing for life's uncertainties and planning for the future. In fact, your surviving loved ones can have peace of mind knowing your exact wishes in the event that you are unavailable or unable to voice your opinion. A knowledgeable Tennessee estate planning attorney can help protect your interests and help you choose the estate planning options that best suit your needs.
Our experienced attorneys at McCarter | East PLLC have dedicated their careers to offering comprehensive legal services for a variety of different estate planning matters. Our team will review the unique circumstances of your situation, help you understand all of the options you have available, and determine the appropriate estate plan that best fits your needs. We will work diligently and compassionately to answer all of your questions and address any concerns that you may have along the way.