People are motivated to start an estate plan for many different reasons. Sometimes, the death of a family member or close friend reveals how difficult it can be for survivors to manage the estate of a person who did not have a legal will. Often, when a couple retires, they think about life after they are gone for the first time and want to protect their assets and their children’s inheritance. Whatever brings you to our website, we want to assure you that you can’t be too young or too old to make an estate plan. If you have strong wishes about how you want your assets dispersed after your death, you will need to have a plan in place to guarantee that it will happen.
Why Do You Need an Estate Plan?
The state of Tennessee has laws about how assets are distributed after a person’s death if that person does not have a will. In general, assets pass to the surviving spouse first and are divided equally among any children if there is no surviving spouse. However, without a trust in place, the estate must go through a court proceeding known as probate, and the estate’s assets are subject to certain taxes. In order to save time, court costs, and taxes, and to be able to designate your assets for particular purposes, you must have established a legal trust outlining your wishes.
Reasons for a Trust
Every family situation is unique and only you know your family well enough to make decisions about how you want your money distributed among them. You can only do this, however, through a trust you establish while you are still alive. The trust will include specific instructions for distributing money or other assets. Common uses of trusts in Tennessee include:
- Avoiding probate
- Minimizing federal estate tax
- Protecting your children from squandering their inheritance
- Providing for grandchildren’s education or other needs
- Protecting your spouse from your children of a previous marriage
- Protecting your children of a previous marriage from your spouse
- Protecting the inheritance of a special-needs child
In an estate planning meeting with attorney Daniel Perry, you will discuss your wishes and desires for your assets and he will help you choose the path that makes the most sense.
Types of Trusts
There are various types of trusts that can be established in order to protect your assets, including the following:
- Revocable living trusts. This type of trust allows families to avoid the court-supervised probate procedure at death and provides for a faster and less-costly estate settlement at death.
- Trusts for minors. If you want to provide for a minor child or grandchild, you can place those assets in trust so the courts won’t need to supervise the minor’s assets and so that the minor will be protected from squandering the assets when he or she reaches the age of 18.
- Trusts to avoid estate tax. These are not as necessary as they used to be for so many people, now that the estate tax exemption has increased from $600,000 to $5,250,000, but if estate taxes are likely, you need to consider these irrevocable trusts.
- Special needs trust. If you have a child with special needs, make sure any inheritance you leave that child is placed in a special needs trust. This will help preserve government benefits for that child.
- Trusts for married couples. This trust makes your assets available for your spouse after you die, but when your spouse later dies, it protects the assets from your spouse’s heirs, such as his or her new spouse.
- Charitable trust. With this trust, you can transfer appreciated assets to a charity, have them sold with no tax consequences, receive an income off those assets for your lifetime, and at your death the remaining trust assets are passed along to your favorite charity or charities.
Call Estate Planning Attorney Daniel Perry
Many people are under the misconception that a simple will downloaded from a website will take care of everything after their death. Unfortunately, true estate planning is not that easy. In your first meeting with Dan, he will ask you what you want to see happen with your assets and explain the best way to achieve that. With his 100% unconditional money back guarantee, you can’t go wrong. Call our Brentwood Office today at 615-472-2482 to get started.