Chattanooga Trust and Estates Lawyer

No doubt you work hard to create financial security and hope that your legacy preserves this ideal. However, without competent estate and trust planning, you may put assets at risk. You want to protect your hard-earned property and make sure it passes to your intended beneficiaries. A Chattanooga trust and estates lawyer could help you build a plan that gives you peace of mind.  Let a team of attorneys assist you in these crucial matters.

Components of a Thorough Estate Plan

Estate planning provides specific direction about the distribution of assets upon death. It also addresses who can make decisions in the case of incapacity. A trust and estates law firm could help build the three main components of a thorough estate plan.

Wills and Trusts

A Will is a document that directs the disposition of assets upon death, appointing an Executor who must inventory and administer the estate for probate. Probate is the legal court process of distributing assets after death. The executor will pay debts and taxes, transfer assets like houses, vehicles, and financial accounts. A legal trust is a component used within a will to protect certain assets from the probate process. A trust and estate attorney comprehends the scope and ramifications of wills and the many forms of trusts in Chattanooga.

Financial Power of Attorney

Another key component of an estate plan is a Financial Power of Attorney (POA). This is a document that only becomes effective if a party cannot make their own decisions because of mental or physical incapacity. It specifies when and how the power is effective and gives the agent the necessary legal authority to transfer property, pay bills, take care of insurance, and otherwise manage the financial responsibilities of the incapacitated person.

Advance Healthcare Directives

The final crucial component of a good estate plan is an Advance Healthcare Directive, sometimes called a Medical Power of Attorney. Everyone should appoint a medical proxy to make healthcare decisions in the case of incapacity. An estates lawyer understands the difficult choices families may face if a loved one goes into a coma, for example, or suffers dementia and cannot make decisions.

Wills and Trusts, a Financial POA, and a Healthcare Directive are the foundation of a comprehensive estate plan, and a trust and estates law firm has the resources and expertise to protect people and their assets.

The Use of Trusts to Avoid Probate

A living trust is a legal instrument that provides instructions for what happens in the case of incapacity or death. Unlike a will, trusts do not need to go through the court probate process. When creating a trust, the party transfers assets into the name of that living trust so that no party or court can take control of that property upon death or incapacity.

Trusts are a vital and effective means of protecting assets and privacy. Since probate involves an open court proceeding, distributions via a will are potentially accessible to the public. A living trust, on the other hand, “owns” the assets and avoids probate. There are also tax advantages to using a living trust. A trust and estates law firm could also serve as the administrator of a trust, providing critical services and oversight of a party’s assets.

There are several kinds of trusts. An attorney in Chattanooga could provide more information on trusts and estates, including:

  • A Tennessee Investment Services Trust
  • Standalone Retirement Trusts
  • Special Needs Trust

Contact a Chattanooga Trust and Estates Attorney Today for Advice

You can see how vital an estate plan can be for your peace of mind and the financial well-being of your loved ones. Legal documents can protect you if you cannot make your own decisions while still alive, and direct the distribution of your assets upon death. You work a lifetime to provide security; let a team of Chattanooga trust and estates lawyers create an estate plan that protects your legacy. Call now to get started.

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