Brentwood Estate Planning & Probate Attorney
Although it may not be pleasant to think about how our lives will end, planning for our eventual demise is one of the best things we can do for our loved ones. Estate planning is an area of the law that is specifically dedicated to helping people decide how their assets will be divided upon their deaths. This area of the law, however, also covers a number of other important topics, including end-of-life medical care preferences and power-of-attorney designations. Speaking with a Brentwood estate planning and probate attorney can make grappling with these issues a bit more manageable. To learn more, please call one of our dedicated Brentwood estate planning and probate lawyers today.
When someone passes away, his or her property and assets, also known as an estate, must be legally transferred to the proper heirs through a process known as probate. In Tennessee, the local chancery courts, or a separate probate court, handle these issues. If a person had a valid will in place before he or she passed away, then the assets contained in that document will be distributed in accordance with its terms.
In Tennessee, when someone dies without a will, his or her loved ones will receive that person’s assets based on the laws of intestacy, which may not represent the decedent’s actual wishes. Under these rules, if an asset doesn’t have a listed beneficiary then it will be divided equally among a surviving spouse and children. The assets of someone with no spouse or descendants, on the other hand, will go to parents and siblings. The best way to avoid this is to plan your estate ahead of time, either by creating a will or by establishing a trust. In fact, the loved ones of those who choose to create a revocable living trust won’t even have to go through probate to receive their inheritances
Power of Attorney
Planning for how your estate will be distributed after your death isn’t the only benefit of estate planning. It is also possible, for instance, to create a power of attorney, which is a legal tool that grants someone the power to make end-of-life and healthcare decisions on behalf of the person creating the agreement. This person, usually a close relative, can use the legal instrument to communicate with doctors if the other individual becomes incapacitated and is unable to consent to treatment. Basically, a power of attorney is the legal authority to enumerate someone’s preferences, which are often listed in a living will or do-not-resuscitate order. Testators can also give an agent the power to handle financial matters in the event of their incapacity.
Estate Planning and Probate Lawyers in Brentwood, TN
Please call Beal, Nations & Crutcher at 615-861-2304 to speak with a member of our dedicated estate planning legal team about the probate process in Tennessee, how to go about distributing your assets, the tax consequences of some estate planning decisions, and how to grant someone power of attorney in the event of your incapacitation.