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No one wants to think about what will happen with your property once you are gone. It can be difficult decisions, and you may fear someone feeling left out or upset. But what you don’t realize is by putting off creating a will, the decisions will be made for you by the state. You will have no say in who gets what — everything will be equally divided. The Nashville will lawyers at Martin Heller Potempa & Sheppard, PLLC understand how hard these decisions can be. But creating a will is a necessary part of estate planning. Not only will your wishes will be followed but you will have peace of mind knowing that your family will be protected after you are gone.
Wills in Tennessee: What You Should Know
A will is a legal document that declares what you, the testator, want to be done to your estate after you pass away. It can not only explain which beneficiaries get what but it will also give instructions on who will become the guardian of your children. It can be as specific as you want – for example, if you want your cousin to receive your grandmother’s china after you’re gone, you can specify this in your will.
When writing a will, you will need to choose who your executor will be. This is the person who will make sure your assets are divided as you desired. In addition, the executor is responsible for paying any estate taxes or fees and handle any debts you may have left behind. If the executor fails in his/her job, this is considered a breach of fiduciary duty.
What If You Die Without a Will?
Many people delay in creating a will. Either they’re anxious about planning for the future, believe they have all the time in the world to create one or don’t think they have enough assets to need a will. But it’s important to know what will happen after you’re gone.
If you die without a will, your estate will become intestate. This means your estate will be settled by Tennessee law. Under the law, the state will determine who will inherit your property. If you were married without children, your spouse will receive the entire estate. If you had children and were married, the estate will be split between your spouse and your children, depended on the size of the share. For example, if you have one child, the estate will be split equally between your spouse and your child. But if you have two children, your spouse will only receive a third of the estate.
If the deceased did not have a spouse, the distribution will go as follows:
The children, if there are any
The parents, if they are still alive
The siblings or the siblings’ children
Intestacy laws do not consider any wishes you might have for your property or how your assets are distributed. This is why it’s so important to hire a will attorney to help to plan for the future.
Why You Should Keep Your Will Up to Date
Whenever a major life change occurs, you should update your will. Some examples include:
Getting married or divorced
Having a child
A death of a family member or another beneficiary of your estate
The executor or guardian is unable to act as such
You want to name someone else as executor or guardian
You should also review your will if there is a change in your estate – such as you move to another state, there’s a change in the law, or your estate size has changed.
Contact Our Nashville Will Lawyers Now
Certain factors should be contemplated when creating a will. Although there are many DIY programs out there that can walk you through the process, it’s best to speak with our Tennessee will lawyers to help you through the process and make sure everything is set for when you do pass away. We will make sure your will is valid and no one will be able to contest it once you are gone. If you are considering creating a will, don’t hesitate much longer. Prepare for your family’s future today by contacting the Nashville will lawyers at Martin Heller Potmepa & Sheppard, PLLC today for more information.