Providing Clients and Their Families Legal Assistance in Planning For the Future
Estate planning is one of the most underused legal tools to help individuals and their families plan for the future. Many people are under the misconception that estate planning is only for older adults or the very wealthy.
Nevertheless, regardless of age and financial status, most adults can benefit from some form of estate planning. Estate planning can offer many benefits, such as creating a will so that family members obtain assets and property, asset protection should an individual need to eventually enter a nursing home, and designating a healthcare proxy should they become incapacitated.
If you want to learn more about the benefits of proper estate planning, contact Garner Law Firm, PLLC of Sumner County, TN, to schedule a free consultation. An experienced estate planning lawyer can gladly answer your questions and explain what legal options are suitable for you.
Why is Estate Planning Important?
The estate planning process is an essential legal tool to help individuals plan for the future and their beneficiaries’ well-being after death. Failure to create a proper estate plan can result in an individual’s assets being tied up in probate court.
For example, if a person dies in Tennessee and does not leave a will, they are said to have died “intestate,” and any distribution of their assets are subject to state intestacy laws. Additionally, when a loved one passes away without leaving a will, their loved ones are often left waiting for probate to be resolved before they can obtain the financial resources they need.
Many parents also believe that if they die, custody of their minor children will automatically go to a close family member. However, in cases where the decedent dies and leaves minor children behind, the state may have custody of them until a judge can decide who should be appointed their guardian.
Finally, an estate planning attorney can also explain how planning can help to minimize taxes and avoid potential adult guardianship should you be unable to make your own decisions due to incapacitation.
If you still want more information about the importance of creating an estate plan, contact our law office and ask to schedule an estate planning consultation to discuss your legal needs.
What Should Be Included in an Estate Plan?
Estate plans should be created to meet each individual’s personal goals for themselves and their families. Estate planning documents should include:
- Last Will and Testament: This legal document allows individuals to provide instructions on how their assets should be distributed and name beneficiaries and an executor.
- Trust: Tennessee has several options for individuals who wish to create trust. Assets are placed in a trust and managed by a trustee and can be designed to meet specific needs or financial goals, such as ease a family’s tax burden after the person who created the trust passes away.
- Health Care Proxy: Also called a medical power of attorney, individuals can designate an individual authorized to make healthcare decisions on their behalf should they be unable to do so for themselves.
- Living Will: A living will is created to express your wishes for the type of medical care you wish to receive should you be terminally ill. For example, a living will can specify if and when you want to be removed from life support or other life-sustaining measures.
- Financial Power of Attorney: A financial power of attorney authorizes another person of your choice to make financial decisions on your behalf, such as paying bills, transferring money in accounts, making investments, or selling property.
Can Estate Planning Help to Protect My Primary Residence if I Have to Enter a Nursing Home?
One of the legal tools used in estate planning to help individuals protect their hard-earned assets is to create an irrevocable trust. Assets in a living trust are still considered to be under the control of the grantor, the individual who created the trust. However, under the terms of an irrevocable trust, the assets are no longer considered the grantor’s property but belong to the trust.
Creating an irrevocable trust is the only way that individuals can protect their assets from the “spend down” so they can qualify for Medicaid. To qualify for Medicaid, individuals must have very little income and assets. However, Medicaid has the legal right to look back over the last 5 years to ensure individuals did not give assets away to qualify.
When an individual creates an irrevocable trust, the grantor transfers their assets into the trust. The grantor can name one beneficiary or several beneficiaries, such as their children, grandchildren, or a charity. The terms of an irrevocable trust can only be modified or terminated if all beneficiaries approve.
Garner Law Firm, PLLC of Sumner County, has extensive experience helping individuals and their families plan for the future. If you are concerned about how to protect your home and assets from being seized by a nursing facility, contact our law office to discuss your estate matter.
Why Should I Hire Your Law Firm to Help Me With My Estate Planning Needs?
Many legal complexities often accompany estate planning. However, with the assistance of a skilled estate planning lawyer, you can help your family minimize the amount of estate taxes they may have to pay.
In addition, you can have peace of mind knowing that your spouse and other beneficiaries will receive their inheritance quickly and avoid estate litigation.
Our legal team can also provide legal advice if you have recently gone through a divorce or are involved in a legal dispute and need to change your estate plan.
Garner Law Firm, PLLC of Sumner County, TN, is passionately committed to helping individuals protect their loved ones and have peace of mind, knowing they will be adequately provided for after they pass away.
Contact our Hendersonville, TN, law offices by calling 615-502-4336 and ask to schedule an initial consultation to determine your estate planning legal needs.