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5 documents for a complete estate plan

You are not alone if you know how important it is to have an estate plan but have no idea where to start. Creating an estate plan, even starting with a simple will, can give you the peace of mind of knowing that your family will have some security when you are no longer around.

However, a will is only a small part of that security. In fact, even a will can leave confusion or frustration if one does not execute it according to Tennessee probate laws. Additionally, a will may not always answer critical questions your loved ones may have in your final days. With the guidance of an attorney, you can create an estate plan that can cover as many bases as possible.

Building your estate plan

Your will can specify how you want to divide your assets when you die. This can be helpful to your loved ones, especially if you have sentimental or valuable items you wish to leave to a specific person. In addition to your will, you may want to consider the following estate planning tools and how they may be appropriate for your circumstances:

  • A revocable living trust holds ownership of the assets you fund to it. This protects the assets from probate and allows you to maintain control of them during your life.
  • An advance directive explains to your family and health care providers the kinds of treatments, medications, lifesaving measures and other care you want and do not want in circumstances when you are unable to communicate your wishes.
  • A health care power of attorney grants a trusted individual of your choice the authority to make health care decisions in your name if you become incapacitated.
  • A financial power of attorney acts on your behalf to manage your legal and financial matters if you should be unable to do so for yourself.

Your estate plan may include all or some of these, or you may benefit from other instruments not listed here. Only you and your Tennessee attorney can know the most effective way to plan your estate in light of your assets and the dynamic of your family. Reaching out for answers to your questions sooner rather than later can ensure that your plan is in place in time to meet the goals you set for yourself and your family.

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