With a commitment to serving our community and using the newest technology, the estate planning, family, and injury lawyers at Martin Heller Potempa & Sheppard offer diligent representation to individuals throughout the Nashville region. From our office in one of Nashville’s most charming neighborhoods, Hillsboro Village, our firm has helped clients not only in Davidson and Williamson Counties (including the communities of Brentwood, Franklin, Belle Meade, and Bellevue) but all over the state, from Memphis to Knoxville, to the Tri-State area. Our dedicated estate planning attorneys help Nashville residents and other people throughout Tennessee protect their best interests, and we will take the time to get to know you and your case before recommending a course of action suited to your goals.Estate Planning
Our attorneys can help you avoid the consequences of creating ambiguous, incomplete, or conflicting instruments that undermine your wishes and the future of your loved ones. Otherwise, disputes may arise after an individual’s death, when a will may be contested or the distribution of an estate challenged. While it requires some careful forethought, the completion of an estate plan is a sensible way to prevent conflict among those who are close to you. The estate planning lawyers at our Nashville firm are skilled in drafting and executing wills, as well as creating trusts and other instruments.Wills
Tennessee law is clearly defined with regard to how a will must be prepared. The testator, who is the person executing the document, must sign his or her own will. In addition, at least two witnesses must observe the execution of the document and sign it in the presence of the testator and each other. If there is a will contest, evidence that a testator received independent legal advice may be used to show its validity. This is one of several reasons why it may be unwise to draft this instrument without consulting a Nashville estate planning lawyer.Trusts
Meanwhile, trusts are instruments that can help an aging individual protect their assets from the probate process, creditors, and potentially certain adverse tax consequences. An inter vivos trust transfers assets from the trustor into the trust during the trustor’s lifetime, rather than at their death through a will. They can be either revocable or irrevocable, which means that a trustor either does or does not have the power to alter the trust. There is also a type of trust known as a testamentary trust, which can be included as part of a will for the benefit of young children or other beneficiaries who may not be ready to handle financial issues.Family Law
While the laws governing divorce, child custody, child support, and related family law matters are well established, cases are generally decided according to their unique facts. Our legal team can identify and cast light on significant information that can make a difference in preserving your rights and interests, and in obtaining a favorable result.
For instance, in child custody disputes, a Tennessee court will need to determine the best interest of any children involved. This is the single goal of the judge, but it requires looking at numerous factors. Some issues to consider include the relationship of the child with each parent, which person has traditionally taken responsibility for parenting duties, the ability of each parent to provide necessary care for the child, and the physical and mental fitness of each parent. Based on these factors, a judge will order a custody arrangement that likely will allow both parents to participate in the child’s life.
In a similar manner, a court will evaluate many criteria when assessing property division in the aftermath of a divorce. Tennessee law vests judges with substantial discretion in determining how marital assets should be distributed. Generally, a court will consider the duration of the marriage, the earning capacity and financial needs of each spouse, and each party’s contribution to the marriage, as well as any other relevant factor. Since outcomes can vary dramatically depending on how your case is perceived by a judge, it is important to have seasoned legal counsel on your side.Personal Injury
If you have been harmed because of another person’s negligence, you may have a claim for financial compensation. Lost wages, pain and suffering, and medical bills may all be recoverable if another individual or entity is found to be legally liable for your injuries. Our lawyers are experienced in presenting a claim of negligence in a persuasive way.
The same four main elements must be shown in any personal injury case. First, you must demonstrate that you were owed a duty of care, or legal obligation to act in a reasonable manner, by the person or entity that you are suing. You must also show that the defendant breached that duty through some careless conduct. The last two elements consist of drawing a direct causal link from the breach to your injuries and identifying quantifiable damages that you incurred as a result. To establish causation, you will need to show that you would not have been hurt if the defendant had met the appropriate standard of care, and that your harm was a foreseeable result of the careless actions.
In some situations, a defendant will argue that a victim partly caused an accident due to their own negligence. For instance, a car crash may have involved two drivers, one of whom ran a red light and the other of whom was speeding. Under Tennessee law, a victim’s compensation award may be reduced in proportion to their percentage of fault for causing the accident. This is one reason why it is important to enlist a knowledgeable personal injury attorney who can investigate the sequence of events and fight back against any improper assertion of comparative fault.Seek a Skilled Legal Counsel in the Nashville Area
If you are in need of legal representation in Nashville or the nearby area, the experienced family law, personal injury, and estate planning attorneys at Martin Heller Potempa & Sheppard can help. To set up a meeting with a member of our staff, you can complete our contact form or call us at (615) 800-7096. Our Nashville estate planning lawyers take pride in guiding our clients through some of the most challenging times in their lives.