I speak with many Tennessee families every week in my law practice. Some come to see me at various stages of the estate planning process. Some are just starting the research phase and looking for information so that they can become more educated regarding the whole process. There are some who have been educating themselves for a while and are either deciding between hiring an attorney or trying to do this themselves through one of the online will programs. Finally, there are some who retained an attorney, the process took months and months, and didn’t end up going forward and the are back again to “kicking the can down the road.”
No matter what stage of the process you may currently be in, one question that I always hear is “I have a simple estate and a simple situation.” No matter how many times I hear this, I am always surprised when I hear this phrase from so many families. Perhaps the reason families tell me this is because they are trying to keep legal fees down to a minimum. However, attempting to save legal costs on the front end, usually leads to more expensive problems on the backend … just ask any doctor or dentist!
However, as I tell many families, “no family and no situation is ever simple, every situation and every family is unique”. Many families that I speak with believe that if you leave everything to your spouse and then everything to your children, you have a simple situation. However, when this day comes, families find out that their situation is anything but simple.
I have seen complicated probate cases after a loved one dies, I have seen simple probate cases that last 8 months and cost in excess of $25,000 after a loved one dies, and I have seen the inheritance that a parent leaves behind to their spouse and children get reduced by unnecessary costs, taxes, and even creditors, divorcing spouses, remarriage spouses, and lawsuits!
The following is a list of ways that your simple situations can become complicated:
- Surviving Spouse Gets Remarried and Leaves Everything to New Spouse and Their Family
- Inheritance is Attacked by Divorce Claims, Creditor Claims, Lawsuits, and Other Predators
- Adult Children and Heirs Pay Unnecessary Income Taxes on the IRA Inheritance and Receive Less than Normally Should Under from the IRA
- A Simple Probate Administration Ends Up Lasting 10 Months and Costing in Excess of $25,000
- Family Loses Their Entire Life Savings Due to Long-Term Nursing Home Costs
- Children Lose Their Entire Inheritance Due to Estate Recovery Actions as a Result of Long-Term Nursing Home Costs
- Business Interests Are Administered Through Probate and Sold for Less Than You Would Have Sold Them For
I could go on, and on, and on …
Before you say to yourself that you have a simple estate and do not need to engage in any type of estate planning or legacy planning, or worse, try to do this yourself, please Click Here and download Our Free Books and Reports! I hope that you find the answers that you are looking for!