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Estate Planning

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Death is devastating, but it’s even more devastating when the family left behind has to sort through all of the legal and financial paperwork on their own with no guidance – the stress of that adds insult to injury, and it’s not the kind of burden you should put on your family’s shoulders. You need a comprehensive estate plan that takes care of all of the details ahead of time! That way, if something happens to you, everyone can have peace of mind knowing what you wanted to happen to your possessions and to your loved ones. 

At The Law Offices of Chris Thompson, we know how important it is to plan for the future. If you’re ready to start getting your affairs in order (and no one, no matter how healthy or young, is guaranteed tomorrow!). then we can help you create a customized estate plan today. Call to book a free consultation with our experienced estate planning attorney and get started! 

Benefits Of Having An Estate Plan 

An estate plan gives you complete control over what happens to your hard-earned money and possessions, both during your lifetime and after your death. You get to say who should inherit what, or what should be done about your medical care if you are incapacitated, and put people you trust in a position to have a claim to your estate. 

If you don’t have an estate plan, the state of Tennessee – not you, and not your family – determines where your possessions will go, and when. If you don’t even have a will, Tennessee’s intestate laws will distribute your assets to your closest living relative (which may or may not be who you wanted your assets to go to). If you have at least a will (but nothing else), your estate will likely have to go through the probate process, which is a time-consuming, expensive, tedious series of court procedures that validate the will and carry out its contents. Estate plans that include a trust can bypass probate in most cases! 

An estate plan can give your family closure; they won’t have to wonder about your wishes, or argue amongst themselves over what you would have wanted, but will be confident in exactly what you intended to happen. 

The primary benefits of an estate plan are for when you pass away, but there are many benefits that it can provide during your lifetime, as well! For example, if you need to enter a nursing home at some point in your final decades, an estate plan with a trust can help shield your assets from being counted against your eligibility for Medicaid. This can save you tens of thousands of dollars!

Our Tennessee estate planning attorney will take the time to review your unique situation so we can help you understand the specific benefits that an estate plan will hold for your family. 

What Your Estate Plan Should Include

Most people think that a last will and testament is all that they need, but wills still need to go through probate, and they don’t account for everything (such as medical care) because they only go into effect when you die. A complete estate plan should, in most cases, have the following: 

  • A trust – a trust is a legal entity that you can transfer your assets to; this will offer a greater level of security for the assets, who will be managed by a trustee (if that’s yourself, then a successor trustee will also be named) according to the terms of the trust you set in place, for the benefit of your heirs. There are revocable living trusts, irrevocable trusts, and others available to choose from. 
  • A medical power of attorney – a medical power of attorney gives someone you trust (known as a health care agent) the ability to make medical decisions on your behalf if you are not able to make them for yourself. 
  • A durable (financial) power of attorney – a financial power of attorney gives someone you trust (known as a financial agent) the ability to make decisions about your assets on your behalf if you are not able to make them for yourself. 
  • An advance care directive – This is a document that can work in conjunction with a medical power of attorney and specifies what type of medical treatment you would like to receive (or not receive) if you are incapacitated.
  • Beneficiary designations – You can designate who will inherit your bank accounts, life insurance policy, and other account types; these designations should match your will, as they will override any designations made in a will. 
  • Guardianship designations (for minor children) – If you have minor children, you can specify who should care for them and make decisions for them, and who they should live with. 
  • A complete list of your assets – (for clarity and inventory/accounting purposes)

Why Choose Our Firm?

Your life isn’t like everyone else’s, and your estate plan should be equally unique – forms you find online may help you make an estate plan, but you’ll spend more time and energy doing it on your own, and the information you find online may not even be accurate or up to date with Tennessee’s most recent standards. 

Our lead estate planning attorney, Chris Thompson, is an experienced local lawyer who is well-versed in Tennessee’s estate planning laws. He can explain your options, personalize any documents to your needs, and take care of all of the paperwork for you so you don’t have to worry about anything. You can relax, knowing your and your family’s future is secure! Call today to book a free consultation and learn more about how we can help. 

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Chris really helped us to understand how the estate planning process works. We feel very confident that we and our kids are taken care of and that everything that is supposed to happen with our assets will happen. Chris took all of the stress out of the process. I would recommend anyone work with Chris, even those who already have estate plans in place. Not all estate plans are equal.

Anonymous

Chris has been extremely helpful! His experience and knowledge have made life better and the process we are working through more comfortable.

Anonymous

Law office of Chris Thompson

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