Estate Planning Lawyers in Nashville, TN Assisting Clients Prepare and Plan For the Future
One of the most common misconceptions about estate planning is that it is only for the wealthy or elderly. However, estate planning can benefit all types of individuals and their families and provide a guide for how their final wishes should be carried out.
Estate planning helps families take the guesswork out of dividing assets and, if done correctly, can help eliminate the lengthy and costly probate process. Additionally, trusts can be used to protect assets and ensure that beneficiaries receive the assets their family member intends for them to have after their death.
Finally, having a well-crafted estate plan in place also helps individuals to have peace of mind that their families will be well-cared for after they pass away. Failure to plan for the future can cause your family to unnecessarily endure a lengthy probate process and pay exorbitant legal fees.
If you would like to learn more about estate planning benefits, contact Crow Estate Planning and Probate, PLC in Nashville, TN, to schedule a free initial consultation. A qualified legal team member will gladly sit down with you and determine what type of estate planning will meet your individual needs.
Why is Estate Planning Important?
Estate planning is one of the most overlooked legal tools that individuals could use to protect themselves and their families. Many people wrongly assume that their immediate family will automatically inherit their assets if they die without leaving a will.
However, this is only sometimes the case. More often than people realize, if an individual dies without leaving a will, state law will decide on critical issues such as how assets will be distributed and who will obtain custody of minor-age children. Without a will in place, a decedent’s assets may be subject to an even lengthier probate process that could be avoided through estate planning.
Probate in Tennessee is a process used to ensure the validity of a will and oversees the distribution of assets to rightful heirs and beneficiaries; however, if there is no will, this process can take significantly longer, causing family members not to be able to access the financial resources they need after an individual passes away.
Additionally, should an individual become incapacitated and unable to make healthcare and financial decisions, having estate planning documents previously prepared can protect them against possible conservatorship. State courts often appoint conservators to make legal decisions for individuals who do not personally know the individual or their wishes regarding their finances and healthcare.
However, Crow Estate Planning and Probate, PLC of Nashville, has extensive experience helping individuals develop an estate plan that will adequately provide for their families so they can have peace of mind knowing their final wishes are carried out as intended.
What Should an Estate Plan Include?
A well-crafted estate plan should include five essential components to ensure that heirs and beneficiaries are protected after a loved one’s death. These five components include:
- Last Will and Testament: Naming an estate executor is critical to this estate planning document. The executor is tasked with managing the estate’s affairs after the decedent passes away, such as distributing assets and paying any outstanding debts. A will also designates beneficiaries and specifies who should obtain custody of minor-age children.
- Trust: One of the most beneficial aspects of establishing a trust is that the assets contained within the trust are not subject to probate, unlike those left in a will. After the individual who established the trust, the grantor passes away; the trustee distributes trust assets. Additionally, unlike a will made public after probate is over, the terms of a trust are kept private.
- Durable Power of Attorney: Also referred to as Financial Power of Attorney, this document names an attorney-in-fact to act on another person’s behalf concerning financial matters. A durable power of attorney (DPOA) gives another person legal authorization to handle their financial affairs should they be unable to do so. Having a DPOA in place eliminates the need for the court to appoint a conservator to oversee financial matters. Finally, having a DPOA in place helps to eliminate potential family legal disputes about who should manage the individual’s finances. However, a DPOA is only valid until the individual passes away.
- Living Will/ Advanced Directive: This estate planning document outlines an individual’s wishes regarding end-of-life medical care. A living will or advanced directive is essential as it eliminates the guesswork and added stress for family members when it comes to making critical medical decisions for their ailing loved one.
- Healthcare Power of Attorney: This essential document provides legal authorization for agents to make essential healthcare decisions on behalf of an individual should they be unable to do so for themselves. Even if individuals are young or in good health, everyone can benefit from having a Healthcare Power of Attorney, especially if an unforeseen crisis presents itself that requires medical decisions. If no Healthcare Power of Attorney has been established, the patient may be subject to conservatorship, where the court appoints an individual to make the necessary decision.
What Are the Most Common Estate Planning Mistakes?
Estate planning is an essential legal tool that can assist families in their time of need to help eliminate the stress and anxiety associated when an individual nears the end of their life or after they pass away.
However, there are common mistakes that individuals often make when creating an estate plan that can complicate matters when the time comes to settle the decedent’s affairs.
Some of the most common estate planning mistakes include:
- Outdated wills: In many instances, individuals create wills that meet their needs at the time. However, as the years pass, many factors can change, such as divorce, the death of a spouse, or financial situations. That being the case, it is always advisable to regularly review the terms of your will to ensure they meet your current circumstances.
- Incongruent beneficiaries: Often, individuals obtain life insurance before they have children and still have beneficiaries listed who may have passed away or are also in poor health and may predecease them. Another example often occurs when individuals name their spouse as an IRA or 401K beneficiary and later divorce. Even though the couple is no longer married, if a former spouse is named as beneficiary, this could set the stage for a legal dispute as to who should inherit the account’s proceeds.
- Naming children as joint owners of assets: Although there are several legal benefits to naming children as joint owners of assets, it also comes with significant risks. For example, assets can become fair game to creditors if they are listed jointly with your child. Instead, it is better to discuss safer options to protect your assets with a skilled estate planning attorney.
If you have previously created a will or have questions about an estate plan, you must speak with a well-qualified estate planning lawyer who can answer your questions. The law office of Crow Estate Planning and Probate, PLC of Nashville, has attorneys who can address your concerns and review your documents to ensure they meet your current needs.
Why Should I Choose Your Law Firm For My Estate Planning Needs?
Crow Estate Planning and Probate, PLC is a law firm that focuses exclusively on estate planning and helping clients and their families plan for the future.
Our legal team is passionately committed to helping our clients gain peace of mind knowing that their final wishes will be fulfilled, and their loved ones and other beneficiaries will be provided for after their death.
When you turn to Crow Estate Planning and Probate, PLC, our attorneys strive to learn your needs and explain your potential legal options. We recognize that every client’s needs will be different. For this reason, our attorneys will work with you individually to ensure that we create an estate plan tailor-made for your needs. Our law firm continually strives to build a strong attorney-client relationship through effective communication with our clients.
Crow Estate Planning and Probate, PLC has built its reputation on creating high-quality estate planning documents that clearly communicate our client’s final wishes.
Having a solid estate plan in place can give you peace of mind knowing that you have done your due diligence in providing for your loved ones after your death. Our legal team understands that it can be challenging to think about life after you pass away. However, with our help, you can create a plan that accounts for your family’s needs and provides them with the financial resources they need.
If you would like to learn more about the benefits of estate planning and how we can help you and your situation, contact Crow Estate Planning and Probate, PLC of Nashville, TN, at 615-592-4586 to schedule a free initial consultation.