Estate Planning

What is Safe Estate planning?

Estate planning is more than completing a standard, fill in the blank set of documents.  If standard documents are all you want from us, we probably are not the right lawyers for you.  Every client has a unique problem or opportunity that deserves a unique solution.  We listen to our clients concerns and offer ideas and options they might never have considered.  Estate planning is more than a one and done experience; it is a lifelong process that takes into account each client’s changing family and financial circumstances.  Estate planning can involve difficult decisions and deep thought.  We work with our clients every step of the way to make the experience as enjoyable as possible.

For many clients, their biggest assets are their real property and their retirement accounts.  We verify the ownership of your real property.  We work with financial advisors, insurance companies and retirement plan administrators to verify or change your beneficiary designations to achieve your wishes and fit with the rest of your estate plan.

Does everyone need a will?

We believe every client should have appropriate, up-to-date estate planning documents, including a last will and testament, durable power of attorney and advance care plan.  Most clients will also benefit from some type of trust.  Our goal for every client is to document their wishes, providing a clear glide path through the difficulties of incapacity and death, empowering them to live out their lives and leave their legacy in the manner they have chosen.

If you do not have an estate plan, the Tennessee General Assembly has written its own estate plan for you.  Chances are you will not be happy with the choices the General Assembly has made for you.  How could they know who you want to be in charge of your affairs, who you want to raise your minor children, or who you want to inherit the wealth you have worked so hard to earn?

We want you to understand and appreciate your estate plan.   We will send a copy of your documents to you for review before you sign them.  We have found that for most estate planning clients, three consultations are sufficient: an initial consultation; a follow up document review consultation; and a signing ceremony.

What estate plan is right for you?

A fundamental estate planning question is: “Which is right for me, a will based plan or a revocable trust based plan?”  Because every client’s circumstances are different, this question should be answered after a thorough evaluation of the client’s concerns, family and financial circumstances and legacy.  Here are our general observations.

For young parents: a will with a testamentary trust empowers them to designate the individuals who will care for their children and manage their resources until the children are mature enough to handle things on their own.

For single adults and single again adults: a basic will or revocable trust provides sufficient planning in many situations.

For blended families: additional asset protection planning may be needed to balance the factors involved in providing first for the surviving spouse, and then for her children, his children and their children.

For empty nesters and retirees: asset protection, long term care, tax efficiency, and the needs of irresponsible, vulnerable or special needs adult children, elderly parents and precious grandchildren require special attention.

When you are ready, contact us to request free resources and schedule a consultation.