Estate and Trust Planning

Estate and Trust Planning – Wills, Trusts, Powers of Attorney, Living Wills

There are many reasons to make estate and trust planning a priority. Setting up financial and health care powers of attorney are crucial to ensuring that matters can be handled for you and your family in the event of a crisis, illness, or time of incapacity. It is also important to plan for your long term future and for your family’s future. Having a well thought out plan in place brings peace of mind to you and your family and ensures that your wishes are met.

We work with client’s to create a customized estate plan that addresses immediate and long term needs. Often plans include powers of attorney that will enable a trusted love one to handle financial and healthcare decisions during a crisis. Plans also include a will and/or trust to ensure that the client’s wishes are carried out and property is disbursed in the manner the client desires. Most clients also choose to execute a living will which allows clients to document their desires and direct difficult end of life medical decisions.

The following are some of the most common questions we are asked about estate and trust planning:

Do I need a Will?

It is a good idea to have a will. If you own any property such as a home, cars, retirement account, or money in the bank. A will allows you to direct to whom your property will be distributed when you die and how it will be distributed. You may want to leave certain items to certain family members, friends, your church or other charity. It allows you to divide things in a way that makes sense to you.

What is a Trust?

A trust can be established during your life or at your death. A trust holds property and directs how the property will be handled either during your life, your death, or both. Having a trust in place may allow for your property to be managed and for you to be taken care of if you become unable to take care of yourself. A trust also allows you to direct how your property will pass and be used after your death for generations into the future.

What if I don’t have a Trust or Will?

If you do not have a will or trust then at your death your property will pass according to applicable state law. In Tennessee that generally means that your property will pass to your spouse and your children.

What is a Power of Attorney?

A Power of Attorney is a document through which you give someone else the legal authority to act for you. A Power of Attorney may be very specific and only allow a person to sign a specific legal document for you or it may be more broad and give the person broad authority to legally bind you. A Durable Power of Attorney is a power of authority that remains in effect even if you become incapacitated.

What is a Health Care Power of Attorney?

A Health Care Power of Attorney is a Power of Attorney that specifically gives another person the legal authority to make health care decisions for you.

What is a Living Will?

A Living Will is another document that directs the type of medical care you want to receive if you are unable to make decisions for yourself.