I am often asked by people, “Why do I need a will?” There is no simple answer to this question. It varies depending upon age, assets, and whether or not you are married or have children.
Most people do need a will. If you don't have a will, then you will not have any say-so over who administers your estate, how the estate is handled and to whom your property goes. By having a will, you are providing peace of mind for the loved ones you leave behind.
Choosing the Executor
In a will, you choose the executor, the person you want to handle all the details of your estate. The executor is responsible for marshalling your assets, paying final debts and dividing your property among your heirs. You can also decide to whom you want your property to go. Most people believe that if they are married and have children, their property goes to their spouse when they die. This may not be true. Generally, under Tennessee law, your spouse and children will share in your estate. This could possibly cause a hardship to your spouse who may be required to account for any sums of the child's share of the estate which may be used.
Naming a Guardian for Your Children
In a will, you can name who will be the guardian of your children. Without a will, any relative could go to court and request that they be appointed guardian. This means they would be in charge not only of your children but also the assets of your children. Think of that one relative that you would not want raising your child. You need a will.
Set up Trusts
A will can also set up trusts. If you die while your children are still minors, you could put their inheritance in a trust. This means a third party will make the decision about the investment of your children's funds and payment to them. And you can maintain funds after your child is past the age of eighteen. Without a trust, on their eighteenth birthday, children can demand their share of the inheritance for that shiny new car rather than for their education. You may also want to pass some of your assets to your grandchildren. By setting up a trust, you can be assured that happens.
A trust can also be set up while you are still living. Tennessee allows individuals to set up Asset Protection Trusts which will protect your assets from claims by your creditors. Let’s say your job requires a lot of driving. This opens up the possibility of liability in case you were involved in an accident. By having your property in an Asset Protection Trust, you can protect your hard earned money in case of a lawsuit.
Avoid Additonal Court and Attorney Fees Call Parker | Lawrence
With a will or trust, you can ensure that your assets will pass easily to your heirs without being whittled away by court and attorney fees if you leave these matters to chance.
Let us help you with your estate planning needs.
Call Parker | Lawrence 615.255.7500
201 4th Avenue. North, Suite 1700, Nashville, Tennessee 37219 /615.255.7500