Comforting the bereaved

The work of the estate planning and probate attorney involves helping people plan for death, disability and loss. It also inevitably involves helping them cope with a loss that has already occurred. In my personal and professional life, I want to offer comforting words to the recently bereaved, whether they are friends, family or clients. Our culture is not comfortable with open expressions of grief, and we all struggle with how best to comfort those who are grieving the loss of someone close.  [Read more…]

Estate planning for parents with young children

Estate planning for parents of minor children

Estate planning is not just for the wealthy, and it is not just for the elderly. Parents of young children need to plan for the care of their children if both parents should pass away while the children are still minors.

1- Planning for the financial care of your minor children.

Without a Will: If a parent dies without a Will, state law provides for a portion of the parent’s property to pass to their surviving children at the parent’s death. If property is inherited outright by minor children, a judge would appoint a responsible person, the Guardian of the estate, to care for the inherited property. A court-supervised guardianship can be expensive and burdensome and requires annual reports to the court of all expenditures. Another downside: the assets in the guardianship become the property of the minor when the child reaches age 18.  [Read more…]

Advance Health Care Directives

Advance Health Care Directives

As part of an estate planning package, most attorneys prepare advance health care directives or Living Wills along with a Last Will and Testament or Revocable Trust. An advance directive is a document in which you give directions for your health care at some time in the future when you may be unable to make health care decisions or speak for yourself.

In Tennessee, the two most commonly used advance health care directives are the Living Will and the Advance Care Plan. Both documents are valid under state law. The Tennessee Living Will was developed in 1985. The Tennessee Advance Care Plan was developed in 2004. The Advance Care Plan can be found on the Tennessee Health Department website at http://health.state.tn.us/AdvanceDirectives/Advance_Care_Plan.pdf.  [Read more…]