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5 Questions About Your Estate Plan

The current pandemic has many people asking tough questions about their future. Where is the money going to go in the event of my death? Will my spouse get everything? How do I make sure my wishes are carried out? We reached out to estate attorney Justin Gilbert with Music City Estate Law to help us sort through the most commonly asked questions about setting up a will. 

Which estate planning documents do I need?

Most people regardless of their net worth need a will, durable power of attorney and advance healthcare directive. People with minor children and or real property may need a living trust. A will tells the court who will serve as your executor to administer your estate and who will receive your assets. A durable financial power of attorney will allow loved ones to handle financial matters during a period of incapacity, such as employment benefits, governmental benefits, retirement accounts, and life insurance.

What Is Probate?

Simply stated, probate is the legal procedure through which the court ensures debts are paid and assets are distributed according to your will. If a person does not have a valid will, executed in accordance with Tennessee Law, their assets will be distributed according to Tennessee laws of intestacy (dying intestate). The probate process is similar to a lawsuit, and is used to finalize a deceased person’s legal and financial affairs. 

How do I avoid Probate?

If property is to be transferred at death via a will, it is almost guaranteed to be subject to the probate process. Probate can be avoided by establishing a trust and re-titling assets in the name of the trust while you are alive, also known as trust funding. The trust enables loved ones to manage trust assets during the lifetime of the Grantor. 

Should I put my child’s name on the deed to my house?

When you “just add the child’s name to the deed”, you’re essentially making them the 50 percent owner of the property. In the case of older parents who are looking at potential nursing home care and don’t have the ability to pay for that care, you may have to rely on the state’s Medicaid program. In those cases, after that parent passes away, Medicaid is going to attach to the house and expect to be repaid from whatever value is still in the parent’s name. Under any scenario where you are selling or gifting the property to the kids, it will no longer be your property. The children will have the ability to evict you from that property. 

How do I protect my assets from creditors?

Asset protection is the process of designing and implementing a plan to protect assets from creditors and lawsuits. Lawyers in the United States aggressively pursue cases against anyone perceived as wealthy and create new theories of liability every day.  Each of us is at risk of being sued for circumstances outside of our control. Asset protection safeguards your, your assets, your family, and keep you from bankruptcy.

Music City Estate Law

1650 Murfreesboro Road, Suite 208