Have you given any consideration as to what will become of your assets when you die? Although many people find discussing their last will and testament a tad uncomfortable, it’s a vital concern for people at any age. Will Fraley, Attorney at Law provides clear and compassionate guidance in establishing estates, wills and trusts. The complexities of planning your estate and forming a trust can be incredibly stressful. However, our thorough background in estate planning guides you through even the most difficult decisions and offers you experienced advice in the establishment of trusts and managing your estate. Let our skilled will and trust lawyer in Murfreesboro, TN steer you through the various challenges involved in planning for your long-term future. Contact our law firm today to request a consultation.
What Is a Will, and Why Should I Have One in Tennessee?
Your will refers to the legal document used to handle your affairs after your death. It can specify how your property and assets will be distributed among your spouse, children or other loved ones. Although having a legal will isn’t mandatory in the state of Tennessee, it’s advisable to create one. Without a last will and testament in place, state laws will determine how your assets are distributed among your beneficiaries (heirs), and these may not always coincide with what you had intended. Your will can also specify any charitable gifts you wish to make or set up trusts for any minors under your care or guardianship. To draft a legal will in Tennessee, the following criteria must be met:
- You must be at least 18 years old and of sound mind
- You (or someone by your direction) must sign the will
- At least two witnesses who are not beneficiaries must also sign the will
- Your will must be in writing (if handwritten, the handwriting must be verified by two witnesses)
- An oral will may be valid under certain circumstances
What’s Meant by the Terms Probate and an Executor of Estate?
Upon your death, your estate enters a process called probate to determine the validity of your will, pay off any debts owed and wrap up your bequests. Your Executor of Estate is the person you’ve appointed to manage your estate during the probate process. An executor is responsible for overseeing the distribution of your assets to your beneficiaries and for paying off your estate’s debts. Without a will, probate can be a lengthy process of contention for many families. Some circumstances may revoke the validity of your will, such as a subsequent marriage or the birth of a child. The amount of time your estate spends held up in probate often depends on how much it’s worth. If your estate was valued at less than $25,000, the state of Tennessee offers a simple probate process that may begin as early as 45 days after your death.
What’s the Difference Between a Will and a Living Will?
A living will differs from your last will and testament in that it provides directives for any decisions that must be made regarding your end-of-life medical care. Also referred to as an Advance Care Plan in the state of Tennessee, your living will dictates your personal preferences involving various forms of life support and how they should be handled. They also provide provisions for the donation of your organs upon your death. A living will must be signed and notarized or witnessed by two people not related to you by blood or marriage to be valid. You’ll also need to appoint a person as your Health Care Agent to make medical decisions on your behalf. You should keep a copy of your living will for your records and give a copy to your primary physician and the person you’ve appointed as your Health Care Agent.
Ready to Draft Your Last Will & Testament? Contact Us Today!
Are you interested in drafting your last will and testament or living will directives? Contact Will Fraley, Attorney at Law to speak with our dedicated will and trust lawyer in Murfreesboro, TN. Take control of your estate planning now to ensure your final wishes are respected and your loved ones are taken care of after your death.