Estate planning is the process of organizing and managing your estate during your lifetime and after your death. There are many estate planning tools available under Tennessee law to help you achieve your goals, including advanced directives, wills and trusts.
What are advanced directives?
Advanced directives are legal documents that allow you to specify your wishes regarding medical treatment and end-of-life care in the event that you become unable to make decisions for yourself. Advance directives can include a living will, which spells out your wishes regarding life-sustaining medical treatment, and a healthcare power of attorney, which appoints someone to make decisions on your behalf if you are unable to do so.
What is a will?
A will is an estate planning document that allows you to specify how you would like your estate to get distributed after your death. You can use a will to leave your property to your spouse, children, other family members, friends or charities. You can also use a will to appoint an executor, who will be responsible for carrying out your wishes.
A will takes effect after your death, so it cannot help when it comes to making decisions about your medical care or end-of-life choices. For this reason, it is important to have both a will and an advance directive in place.
What is a trust?
A trust is a legal arrangement that allows you to place property into a trust fund, which will get managed by a trustee on your behalf. Trusts can be used for estate planning purposes, such as avoiding probate or minimizing estate taxes. You can also use trusts to provide for your loved ones in the event that you become incapacitated.
No matter what your estate planning goals may be, it is important to understand the tools available to you. Advanced directives, wills and trusts can all be used to help you protect your assets and provide for your loved ones.