Franklin Estate Planning & Probate Attorney
Estate planning is essential for any individual or family, and the sooner it’s done, the better. One never knows what life may bring, so planning for the expected as well as the unexpected can help ensure that you and your family are protected regardless of what occurs. If you don’t decide important matters in advance, then the state of Tennessee decides them for you.
The Franklin estate planning & probate attorneys at Fort, Holloway, & Rogers help families in Williamson County plan for their future through prenuptial agreements as well as traditional estate planning documents such as wills, trusts and powers of attorney. Our probate lawyers are here to assist with estate and trust administration as well. For all your family’s legal needs throughout your lifetime, count on Fort, Holloway, & Rogers for practical, strategic advice and technical assistance.
Wills and Trusts – Leave a Legacy as You Pass on Your Estate
Wills and trusts are the primary vehicles used to distribute your estate to your heirs after you are gone. Wills can be used to make specific gifts and leave a lasting legacy. They can also be used to appoint an executor for your estate and name a guardian for your minor children. Creating a valid and enforceable will requires careful drafting and execution according to the Tennessee statute of wills and a thorough understanding of property and estate law to ensure that your wishes will be fulfilled.
Trusts have the advantage of transferring title to property out of your name during your lifetime so that any property you leave in a trust does not have to go through probate. Trusts are also private documents that keep prying eyes from knowing the size and contents of your estate or how you distributed them. With revocable living trusts, you can make these transfers effective during your lifetime but still retain control over and benefit from the assets. Irrevocable trusts can be used for certain specific purposes, including providing for people with special needs or avoiding estate taxes.
In addition to wills and trusts, many other creative ways exist to distribute your estate while avoiding or minimizing probate. These include funding life insurance policies and pre-paid burial plots, creating joint tenancies in property and opening payable-on-death bank accounts, designating beneficiaries to retirement and pension plans, and making gifts to intended beneficiaries during your lifetime. The Franklin estate planning attorneys at Fort, Holloway, & Rogers take the time to understand your needs, advise you on your options, and develop a creative strategy to accomplish your estate planning goals.
Advance Directives – Plan for Your Healthcare if You Become Incapacitated
What happens if heaven forbid you get in a car accident and become physically or mentally incapacitated, or simply lose capacity due to illness or the common effects of aging? Who makes important decisions regarding your healthcare if you are unable to make or communicate those decisions for yourself? You would hope to count on your loved ones, but they could be unavailable, unable, or disagree with each other about what to do.
These fears can be put aside if you take the time to create advance directives while you are healthy and competent to do so. Advance directives for health care let you put your preferences for treatment in writing. This document covers all available medical treatment and not just life-sustaining decisions. Advance directives must be signed, witnessed and drawn up according to specific procedures to be valid.
You can also designate a health care surrogate to act on your behalf. If you did not previously designate a surrogate, Tennessee law provides a method for certain family members or doctors to make decisions for you, but by designating a surrogate in advance, you get to choose who makes these essential decisions and make sure they understand your wishes.
Other legal documents such as a living will or POST (Physician Order for Scope of Treatment) can set out your wishes regarding resuscitation, end-of-life or life-sustaining measures. With recent changes in Tennessee law, a living will, advance care plan, medical power of attorney, and appointment of health care agent can all be taken care of on one form now. If your documents are outdated, visit with an estate planning attorney to revise them accordingly and make sure they reflect the latest changes to Tennessee law. Fort, Holloway, & Rogers can create all of these documents for you as well as powers of attorney that allow you to designate people you trust to manage your legal and financial affairs (pay the mortgage, borrow money, sell property) if you become unable.
Probate – See to the Distribution of Your Estate
Our Franklin estate planning and probate attorneys are also here to assist executors, trustees, and heirs and beneficiaries through the complex process of probate and trust and estate administration. We provide technical assistance to help probate conclude smoothly and successfully with minimum time and expense to the estate. If disputes arise over the terms of a will or the conduct of the trustee or other fiduciaries, our experienced lawyers are ready to help with will contests and other probate litigation as needed.
Help With Estate Planning and Probate in Franklin
For help with estate planning and probate in Franklin, Tennessee, call Fort, Holloway, & Rogers at 615-791-7575 for practical advice and strategic legal assistance from a skilled and knowledgeable Williamson County estate planning and probate attorney.