Wills Lawyers in Nashville, TN, Providing Clients With Quality Estate Planning Services
In today’s modern world, people are busier than ever before. Many basic tasks that need to be completed seem to be pushed to the side. However, one of the most critical responsibilities that anyone should take time to complete is writing a will.
Many individuals mistakenly believe that their assets and other financial resources will automatically become the property of their immediate family. Although this may be true in some instances, there are situations where not leaving a will can result in costly legal situations for loved ones and other beneficiaries. Additionally, your beneficiaries may have to wait a significant amount of time to finally receive the financial resources they need after you are gone.
Writing a will may seem like a daunting task. However, with the assistance of an experienced wills attorney, the entire process can be quick and easy and give you peace of mind knowing that your family is provided for after your pass away.
Contact Crow Estate Planning and Probate, PLC of Nashville, TN, to schedule a free initial consultation to discuss your estate planning needs. A qualified legal team member will gladly sit down with you and discuss your options.
How Are My Assets Distributed if I Do Not Leave a Will?
When an individual dies without leaving a will, they are said to have “died intestate.” When the decedent does not leave a will, Tennessee intestacy laws dictate how that person’s assets will be distributed. The advantage of writing a will is that you have the final say regarding how your assets will be distributed. In contrast, intestacy laws dictate what your heirs and beneficiaries may receive.
When an individual writes a will, they name an executor. However, intestacy laws stipulate that an administrator must be appointed. An executor and administrator perform the same tasks, such as gathering assets, paying outstanding debts, and distributing assets. However, an administrator must adhere to state intestacy laws when distributing assets.
Of course, if there is a surviving spouse and children, they are given priority. If there is a surviving spouse and children, the spouse will receive either one-third or a child’s share of the estate, whichever may be greater. In cases where there is only a surviving spouse and one child, each party would be entitled to equal shares of the total estate.
If there is no surviving spouse or children, state intestacy laws start with other close family relationships, such as surviving parents and then siblings.
If you still need clarification about Tennessee state intestacy law, contact Crow Estate Planning and Probate, PLC, to schedule a free consultation with an experienced wills attorney who can answer your questions.
What is Probate?
Probate is a legal process used in Tennessee to ensure the validity of a will after a person passes away. As stated previously, if an executor has yet to be previously named, an administrator will be appointed to manage all estate-related issues.
The probate court will appoint the administrator if an individual does not leave a will. An “heir at law” can file a petition with the probate court asking to be appointed administrator. An heir at law is typically an individual related to the decedent and most likely would have inherited from the estate had there been a will.
However, not all estates are subject to the probate process. A faster and more efficient method is available if an estate is valued at $50,000 or less and does not include any real estate holdings. The executor is obligated to fill out an affidavit detailing all of the estate’s assets and debts, a death certificate, and a list of all beneficiaries. The probate court then makes a ruling as to whether or not it will permit the simplified probate within 45 days of receiving the petition. If approved, assets can be distributed to heirs almost immediately.
In most instances, the probate process typically takes anywhere from 6 months to a year to complete. However, the process could take considerably longer if anyone decides to contest the will.
What Are the Requirements to Make a Will in Tennessee?
Any Tennessee citizen has the legal ability to create a will as long as they meet the basic requirements. If it is later discovered that the testator, the individual who created the will, did not meet all the legal requirements, the will can be contested and rendered invalid.
Tennessee legal requirements include:
- The testator is at least 18 years of age.
- The testator is of sound mind.
- The will is signed by the testator or by their authorized agent in the testator’s name and in their presence.
- At least two witnesses signed the will. It should be noted that none of the witnesses should be listed as beneficiaries in the will. Finally, the witnesses must sign the will in the presence of the testator and each other.
- A testator can legally leave their personal property to their chosen beneficiaries.
As a final note, wills must be in writing. Rarely, an oral will also referred to as a nuncupative will, may be accepted but only if specific legal requirements are met, including that the testator was in “imminent peril of death” and has less than $1,000 of personal property. However, a nuncupative will may not be used to replace an existing will.
If you would like to draft a will, contact the law office of Crow Estate Planning and Probate, PLC, to schedule an appointment.
Do I Need a Lawyer to Write a Will?
No specific law states you must hire a lawyer to help you write a will. Many individuals utilize online websites to create a will. However, often legal issues arise that may be challenging to try and navigate on your own.
For example, you may need legal advice if you are going through a divorce and wish to disinherit your spouse but keep your children in the will. Additionally, suppose you have a great deal of property and other assets, a business, or other interests you wish your beneficiaries to inherit. In that case, consulting with a knowledgeable attorney is in your best interest.
At Crow Estate Planning and Probate, PLC of Nashville, TN, our law firm focuses solely on estate planning services. Other law firms may offer the same legal services but also handle other cases. Our dedication to estate planning services has earned our law firm a reputation for quality personalized service.
When you choose our law offices to help you write a will, we will first evaluate your needs and create a comprehensive legal document that clearly expresses your final wishes. Our documents are written to hold up to legal scrutiny and help reduce any chance of the will being contested.
Contact Crow Estate Planning and Probate, PLC at 615-592-4586 if you would like to learn more information or schedule an appointment. We look forward to assisting you with your estate planning needs.