Estate Planning FAQ

Preparing for the future can be daunting. But estate planning is very important not just for your end of life wishes, but for your family’s future. We’ve compiled a list of frequently asked questions related to Tennessee estate planning.

How do wills work?

In Tennessee, a will is a legal document that explains what you want to be done to your estate after you pass away. Wills give instructions on what you want your beneficiaries to receive as well as if you have minor children, who will become their guardian.

Within the will, you must declare an executor of your estate who will also ensure that any estate taxes or fees or debts you have left behind are paid through your estate.

Can advanced directives be changed?

Tennessee advanced directives include living wills and durable power of attorney for healthcare. Both are able to be revoked or changed. However you must ensure upon changing them, you follow the rules on what makes each valid.

What’s the difference between and living will and will?

A living will is a legal document that gives instructions to your loved ones or executor on what to do if you become incapacitated and are unable to make these decisions on your own. Such wishes may include life-prolonging medical care, Do Not Resuscitate, and palliative care.

A will determines what you want to happen to your estate once you have already passed.

What’s the difference between a durable and general power of attorney?

A durable power of attorney is a legal tool that grants a named individual the power to make health care and end-of-life decisions on behalf of the person initiating the agreement.

In Tennessee, there is also a durable general power of attorney which focuses on property and contract rights instead of healthcare. The general power of attorney can make financial transactions like paying bills, collecting rents, voting stocks, running a business, buying or selling real estate, etc.

What can an elder law attorney do for you?

A Tennessee elder law attorney can help you with important estate planning measures like health care planning, retirement planning, conservatorships, nursing home rights, grandparent rights, Medicaid, Medicare, and Social Security planning as well as veterans benefits.

Why is succession planning important for small businesses?

Whether your business is large or small, business succession planning can help you ensure your company is left to the people of your choosing who can continue to make the business successful. Not only can you divide up the ownership of the business, you can also determine how the various responsibilities are allocated among them when you are no longer involved.

Planning ahead will help your business when it comes to buyouts, employee compensation, stock options, and outside sales if business closure occurs.

Is a handwritten will legal in Tennessee?

A handwritten will is legal in Tennessee, however, there are some stipulations that make it a risky choice. To be valid, the will must comply with T.C.A. § 32-1-105:

“No witness to a holographic will is necessary, but the signature and all its material provisions must be in the handwriting of the testator and the testator’s handwriting must be proved by two (2) witnesses.”

What is the main purpose of a trust?

The main purpose of a trust is to distribute the property or finances of a trust to a person or organization after the trust creator dies. The trust puts the control in your hands in a way a will cannot.

Visit our Tennessee Estate Planning page for more information or contact Martin Heller Potempa & Sheppard, PLLC today.

We Can Help

If you need legal assistance regarding estate planning faq matters, contact us online or call us at (615) 800-7096 today for a consultation with an experienced attorney.