Estate planning is a very broad term in Knoxville, Tennessee, referring to a person's choices on issues that affect them and their family toward the end of their life. These might include instructions for end-of-life care, as well as drafting a will or other document with the intent of disposing of one's property after their death.
One of the first things an estate planner will ask you about when you come to them for help is what you want to put in your will. A will is a document which says who is going to get your property after your death. Once it is proven valid, a will is binding, meaning that the beneficiaries get legal ownership of whatever is left to them. Obviously, if you have any interest in what is done with your property after you die, a will is going to be at the center of your estate plan. However, it is rarely the only part of a solid estate plan.
A solid estate plan will also include instructions to your doctors about your preferences for end of life care, in case you become unable to express them. This is recognized as a "living will." It should also include instructions about funeral arrangements and organ donation.
For anyone who has children who are still minors, it is very important to make arrangements for their custody and care, just in case the unthinkable happens. You should think of a family member or very close friend who you know would be willing and able to take care of your children, and designate them as the person who would take custody. Of course, it's essential to discuss this matter with that person before you really do it.
What Type of Estate Plan Do I Need in Knoxville, Tennessee?
The answer to this question depends largely on your goals and priorities, as well as your age, health, and the amount of assets you have.
Unmarried young adults typically don't think much about estate planning. In most cases, this is fine. Unless you are extremely sick or have an unusually large amount of assets, estate planning is not something to really worry about at this point in your life.
If you're not married in Knoxville, Tennessee, but have a life partner, estate planning is necessary. If you want your partner to be treated as your spouse, your estate plan should make arrangements to give him or her power of attorney in the event that you become incapacitated. Additionally, your will should clearly name your partner as a beneficiary, if you want them to inherit any of your assets.
If you are elderly, and have a massive amount of assets in Knoxville, Tennessee, estate planning may be more essential at this stage of your life than any other. While estate planning deals with some morbid and unpleasant subjects (requiring us to confront the reality of our own mortality), it is essential if you wish to live your life secure in the knowledge that your loved ones will be provided for to the extent that your assets allow.
Do I Need a Knoxville, Tennessee Estate Planning Attorney?
Because estate planning can be a convoluted process, the expertise of a good lawyer in Knoxville, Tennessee who specializes in wills, trusts, and estates can make the process a great deal easier.