Nashville View

Elder Law, Aging, and End of Life Issues

Capable Nashville Attorneys Skilled in Estate Planning Matters

The later years of a person’s life should not be filled with worry and stress. The estate planning lawyers at Martin Heller Potempa & Sheppard are skilled in understanding the legal needs of aging Nashville residents and taking steps to minimize uncertainty with regard to medical and probate decisions. We have served a wide number of communities in and around Williamson and Davidson Counties, including Bellevue and Brentwood.

Making Preparations for the Future

One of the most critical steps to take late in life consists of properly drafting documents that will ensure security for you and for your loved ones. Perhaps the most common estate planning instrument is a will. However, additional documents like a living will, a power of attorney, and a health care power of attorney are equally, if not, more important. In addition, not all personal assets will be passed to heirs through a will. For example, most residences are owned jointly between two married individuals and will pass automatically to a surviving spouse. Nor are life insurance policies, retirement accounts or savings/checking accounts transferred through a will. These are additional considerations that our attorneys can address.

Probate Proceedings in Tennessee

Probate issues often arise in the advanced years of an individual’s life. It is crucial to understand the laws of Tennessee with regard to these proceedings in order to best protect your interests. In this state, there are certain legal requirements that are necessary to validate a will. Most importantly, a written will must be signed by at least two witnesses who sign in each other’s presence as well as the presence of the testator, or the person making the will.

When the time comes to implement the wishes set forth in the will, it will need to go through probate. A court will consider the will, multiple wills, or testamentary documents, and either admit or deny probate. At the time that the documents are being examined, the court may ask the witnesses to the will to testify as to the formalities required for the execution of this instrument. The Court will also inspect all the relevant estate probate papers. If there is sufficient evidence that the will was properly executed, a court will admit, or accept the validity of, the will.

Health Care Concerns

Health care issues can also be a source of stress unless you have carefully planned ahead. A living will is a document that states an individual’s wishes for medical care, including decisions regarding whether to sustain life, palliative care, and organ donation. A living will must be in writing and signed by the individual expressing his or her wishes. The signature must be either notarized or witnessed by two people. Tennessee laws set forth the form in which a living will should be drafted. We are familiar with the form and requirements of this instrument and are skilled in working with clients to draft an effective document.

Another way to protect your interests in advanced age is a power of attorney, which can be exercised for health care decision. However, it must meet all the legal requirements set forth in the applicable Tennessee laws. A power of attorney document must specifically give authorization to an individual to make health care decisions, and it must be dated, made in writing, and signed. Moreover, it must be notarized or witnessed by two individuals. Each witness must be a competent adult not related to the person executing the power of attorney.

Consult a Compassionate Franklin Lawyer for Your Probate Needs

If you or someone you love has questions about probate law or needs assistance planning for the future, you may want to discuss your situation with the probate attorneys of Martin Heller Potempa & Sheppard. Having assisted countless individuals near Franklin and far beyond, we will seek to resolve any concerns you may have and help prepare you for the future. To speak with one of our attorneys, contact us online or call (615) 800-7096.