In Tennessee, "estate planning" broadly refers to the process through which someone decides what is to be done with their assets after death.
The first step in any estate plan is to figure out what you actually want to be done with your assets after your death. This is a very personal decision, and you should discuss it with your family, and others who might have a direct interest in your decisions. As for actually implementing your goals, you should probably speak with a legal and/or financial professional to figure out the best way to accomplish these objectives.
In addition to decisions concerning the disposition of your property, you should decide how you want to spend your final days. For example, many people have a strong preference about whether and to what extent they'd like to be kept alive by artificial means. Whatever your opinion on this matter is, you should make it clear to the people who will be positioned to make such decisions for you, if you are unable.
A qualified estate planner in Tennessee may also help you maximize the percentage of your assets that go to your chosen beneficiaries, by minimizing the impact of taxes and court fees. Furthermore, preventing a will or other estate plan from being litigated in court will save your survivors an incalculable amount of time, money, and energy - and the better an estate plan is, the lower its chances of ending up in court.
Common Elements of Estates in Tennessee
Estate plans in Tennessee almost always have these features:
Will: A will is a written instrument stating what you want to be done with your assets after you die. There are many issues that can come up in the drafting of a will. However, because the will doesn't have any legal or practical effect until after the person who made it died, they can't exactly correct these problems when they become apparent. Therefore, quality drafting, usually with the assistance of a good attorney, is essential.
Power of Attorney: This is an arrangement that gives another person the power to make certain decisions, usually related to finances and medical care, on your behalf, if you become incapacitated or disabled, and therefore unable to make or express your own decisions. You can choose who you give this power to. For obvious reasons, it should be somebody you trust.
Funeral Arrangements: Your wishes on this matter should be made clear to whoever is in a position to implement them early on in the estate planning process, and should not be included in a will. Because a will is often read days or weeks after the person dies, it may be too late by then to carry your wishes out.
Do I Need a Tennessee Estate Planning Attorney?
Estate planning is very important (if you care about what happens to your family after your death), and can involve some pretty difficult decisions. It should be clear, then, that a good Tennessee estate planning attorney will likely be worth the cost, because they can give your wishes the best possible chance of taking effect.
Interesting Facts About Tennessee
Tennessee is part of the Southeastern region of the United States. It is one of the nation's major producers in areas like agriculture, electrical equipment, and transport equipment. Tennessee is also popular for its history of musical acts originating from the state, with Nashville being considered by many to be the center of recorded country music. Much of Tennessee's law is devoted towards regulation of these important industries.
The Tennessee Supreme Court is the state's court of last resort. Unlike other state supreme courts, the Tennessee Supreme Court meets in several locations (Knoxville, Jackson, and Nashville). In addition, the Tennessee Supreme Court has met in many other cities in connection with legal education projects for high schools. Tennessee's Supreme Court is the only one in the nation that appoints the state's Attorney General; in all other states, the appointment is made by election or by the state governor.
Many Tennessee laws and court cases have influenced national legal trends. For example, Baker v. Carr (1962) is a landmark U.S. Supreme Court case originating in Tennessee. The Baker decision established the doctrine of "one man, one vote". This doctrine helped to balance voting and election standards, especially for communities that may be underrepresented in elections.
Lawyers in Tennessee can help interpret the state's laws and regulations. Tennessee lawyers provide assistance with various legal issues and concerns. An attorney in Tennessee can also provide representation in court during trial.