Many people think estate planning is only for the wealthy, but nothing could be further from the truth. Deciding to create an estate plan is one of the most significant choices any person can make to ensure that their final wishes are honored, and that their loved ones are not left with a mess (and a messy fight) after their death.
Essentially, estate planning is planning for the distribution, conservation, and disposition of an individual's estate at their death. An estate is made up of everything a person owns at the time of their death, including real estate, bank accounts, stock and securities, personal property, life insurance proceeds, etc.
If you do not have an estate plan in place, then the following questions should help you decide if now is the right time to get to it.
1.) Do I have children?
2.) Do I have elderly parents?
3.) Am I married?
4.) Do I own a home?
If you answered yes to any of the previous questions, then you should consider taking action on your estate plan. And there's good news - it's not as expensive as you might think.
But let's answer the following question: why would I need an estate plan, anyway?
The most common first answer is to make sure that the estate is distributed the way an individual intends after death. That seems simple enough. If an individual passes away without a will, the State is happy to decide how the assets will be distributed, through laws known as intestate succession. Creating an estate plan gives control back to the individual to decide exactly how they would like their estate to be distributed after death.
However, estate distribution at death is not the only reason for developing an estate plan. An estate plan can also address many issues that come up during life, such as incapacity due to an accident or other health problems. An estate plan can address who will be responsible for financial and healthcare decisions in the event of an incapacity during your life, making things much smoother for your loved one who is dealing with such a major change.
A living will can address end of life decisions, which ensures that your wishes are carried out while also removing the stress and uncertainty of making such difficult decisions on your loved ones.
If you have minor children, your will can designate a guardian in the event that both parents die before a minor child turns 18. Having a guardian designation in a will can prevent an unnecessary custody battle following the death of the parents, which benefits both the children and the rest of the family.
Finally, for some, an estate plan with a trust can control how and when your assets are distributed and can potentially reduce or eliminate estate taxes.
We take the guess work out of attorney fees for estate planning. Whether you are looking for a will package, a trust package, or a la carte services, we are able to meet your estate planning needs in a cost effective way
The Will Bundle Consists of a Summary of Estate Planning Provisions, a Last Will and Testament, Instructions for the Distribution of Personal Property, General Durable Power of Attorney, Advanced Healthcare Directives (Living Will and Healthcare Power of Attorney), HIPPAA Authorization and Waiver for Agent, and Final Disposition Instructions.
The Living Trust Bundle consists of a Revocable Living Trust Agreement, Certificate of Trust, Pourover Will, Healthcare Power of Attorney, General Durable Power of Attorney, and Living Will
For those only interested in a single document solution
We offer our clients one of two options for creating their estate plan: traditional estate planning or virtual estate planning.
Traditional Estate Planning - For our traditional clients, we schedule an initial consultation in our Chattanooga law office to have an in-depth discussion about your goals and needs. After the initial consultation we will draft and prepare your estate plan, and schedule a final meeting to review, explain, execute your plan, and answer any questions you might have.
Please contact our office at (423) 641-8550 to schedule an initial consultation.
Virtual Estate Planning - For our clients who prefer to save time by skipping the face-to-face meeting with the attorney, or for those who are more technologically advanced, we have our virtual estate planning solution. In this process, you create your account free with us, select the Will or Trust Bundle or a la carte document(s) that you are looking to have prepared, walk through our online client interview system, and schedule a final meeting to review and discuss your plan, execute or receive execution instructions, and answer any questions you may have.
If, while answering the questions in our online client interview system, you get stuck on a particular question or do not know how to answer, you have the option to stop, contact our office, and ask us directly. If we are not available to speak, you can save your responses and wait to continue until we have an opportunity to discuss it. Or, you could answer the question to the best of your ability, write down that particular question, and ask about it in our review meeting once the online client interview is complete.
The most important thing to remember is not to worry. We have the virtual estate planning process as a convenience for our clients. After completing your client interview, we will prepare your documents and schedule a review, where we will review your responses and discuss the implications of those responses on your estate plan. We can also alter your responses and documents accordingly, so nothing from your initial client intake interview is set in stone.
If you are ready to begin the virtual estate planning process, scroll down and click Register Now.
To register as a new client and begin the virtual estate planning system client intake, click the blue button below. Registration is free and easy, and you can begin our virtual client intake process within minutes. Register here whether you are looking for estate planning in Chattanooga or anywhere in the State of Tennessee.
For our existing virtual estate planning clients, click the button below to login to your account, where you can view, edit, or create new documents.