Estate Planning Attorney in Knoxville, Tennessee
Whether you’re just starting your career right out of college or you’ve got your eye on retirement, the time to start estate planning is now. Estate planning will look different for everyone, and by working with an experienced attorney, you can ensure your goals and concerns are addressed before it’s too late.
If you’re interested in getting started on your estate plan or updating an existing one, I can help you no matter what stage of the process you’re in. If you’re in the Knoxville, Tennessee, area or anywhere throughout Knox County including Maryville, Farragut, and Clinton, reach out to me at Mark E. Tillery, Attorney at Law today to schedule a consultation.
Why Estate Planning Is Important
Estate planning is a broad term that encompasses a wide range of legal topics and concerns including drafting a Last Will and Testament ("Will"), establishing a Trust, choosing a Power of Attorney, or writing an advance healthcare directive. All these documents help you plan for your future, whether it’s deciding how your assets will be allocated and to whom after your death, whether you want to support any philanthropic or charitable organizations, or who will have access to and administrative authority over your finances and healthcare choices if you become incapacitated or unable to communicate.
There is no set age or income level you need to be at in order to start an estate plan, and the earlier you start, the better prepared you’ll be. The truth is, none of us really know what our futures will hold, and by preparing now, we can save our loved ones time, money, and countless hours of stress. If you die without a Will in place (known as dying intestate), your estate may still be required to go through the legal process of probate.
During this process, a judge will assign someone to administer your estate, and this may or may not be the person you desire to be in this role. Your estate will then be distributed according to the laws of the State of Tennessee even if this is not as you wish.
Documents That May Be Included in an Estate Plan
At its most basic level, an estate plan should at least consist of a Will. In a Will, you can name an executor, list what assets you’d like set aside for certain individuals, and name a legal guardian for any minor children.
However, most Wills still must go through the process of probate. To avoid probate, you may wish to draft a Living Trust. Trusts are similar to wills in that you can assign beneficiaries for your assets, but a Living Trust lets you transfer ownership of the assets into the name of your chosen trustee and you remain in control of these assets during your lifetime. After you pass away, the named assets can transfer immediately to your beneficiaries, bypassing the courts.
Two other popular and important documents you should consider including are powers of attorney and advance directives.
Powers of attorney can be named for both financial and healthcare reasons. This will allow you to name an individual you trust to make decisions on your behalf should you become incapable of doing this on your own. Even the most comprehensive estate plan can’t include provisions for every possibility, and it will give you peace of mind knowing you’ve chosen someone responsible who understands your values to make difficult decisions in your stead.
An advance directive can include your wishes for medical care should you become terminally ill and can include directions on what kind of life-saving treatments you want, whether to intubate, or under what circumstances you’d want to be resuscitated.
How Your Attorney Can Help
Estate plans can be complex, and if you don’t get the legal language right, it may be unenforceable when the time comes to implement it. Or, a poorly-written Will or estate plan runs the risk of being contested by your heirs, which can cause nasty in-fighting among family members.
Because of this, it’s highly recommended you work with an estate planning attorney who can find the right solution for your individual needs. An experienced attorney can also help with trust administration (or even be named as a trustee if you so desire) and can help your loved ones with probate administration.
Estate Planning Attorney Serving Knoxville, Tennessee
If you’re in the Knoxville, Tennessee, area and would like to speak with a local attorney about your options for drafting an estate plan, reach out to my office, Mark E. Tillery, Attorney at Law, today. I have over a decade of experience helping out people just like you get a handle on their estates and their future. It’s never too late or too early to get started.