Will Attorneys in Nashville, Tennessee

Even if you don’t have a will yet, you most likely know its basic function and that you should probably get around to writing one. However, most people either haven’t taken the steps to start drafting a will, or they have a will but it’s outdated and needs to be revised to better reflect changes in their lives. The benefits of having a will are numerous. The sooner you start the estate planning process, the better prepared you and your loved ones will be for the future. 

To speak with an experienced estate planning attorney in Nashville, Tennessee or anywhere in Rutherford County, reach out to the team at Brazil Clark, PLLC to schedule a consultation. The firm is ready to help you plan for tomorrow. 

Overview of Wills  

A will is the most basic element of any estate plan and is a good starting point for most people. This legally-binding document allows an individual (known as the testator) to list directives for what should happen when they die. This regularly includes listing assets and assigning them to be distributed to a named beneficiary. Commonly inherited assets can be both material and non-material including real properties, homes, vehicles, jewelry, vehicles, artwork, furniture, family heirlooms, as well as pension funds, investment accounts, retirement accounts, bank accounts, or insurance policies.  

However, wills do more than simply list your assets and beneficiaries. They also allow you to name a legal guardian of any minor children or pets as well as name an executor who will be responsible for handling your estate and carrying out the directions in your will.  

It’s also important to know about the options you have for writing a will before you get started. The most commonly used will is called a “simple will” and this is likely what your attorney will recommend for you. However, you have the option of writing a joint will with your spouse, but these are used less and less often these days. You may also hear about handwritten wills (or “holographic” wills) which are accepted in all states including Tennessee, but these can present problems if they’re not written or signed correctly, and they’re more likely to be contested in court. Lastly, there’s something called a “pour over” will which is used in conjunction with a trust to account for any assets that aren’t specifically named in your trust. 

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Why Having a Will is Important  

When clients ask, “Who needs a will?” the answer is always the same—everyone. Many people falsely believe that they don’t need a will if they’re young or they don’t have enough assets, but this is simply not true. The main benefit of having a will is that you’re able to provide for your family and ensure they’ll be taken care of after you pass, and this is true no matter your level of wealth. When you die without a will in place (called dying “intestate”), you leave no direction for your loved ones and they will then have to work through the time-consuming (and often costly) process of probate on their own. This means that a judge will assign an administrator to your estate who will be responsible for locating, inventorying, and assessing all your assets, dealing with any existing debts, and figuring out how to pay them with your assets, then deciding where your assets will go—all this while they’re also dealing with their own grief. Leaving behind a will takes the guesswork out of this process and can provide direction and peace of mind to your loved ones. 

Difference Between a Will and a Trust 

The two most popular estate planning documents are a will and trust, but they function in slightly different ways. Like a will, a trust lets you list certain assets and leave them to a beneficiary of your choice. However, unlike a will, these assets must be moved into a trust while you’re still living. This means the assets won’t technically belong to you anymore and will instead be legally owned by your trustee. However, you’ll still retain complete control over these assets, meaning you can add or remove assets from the trust, rename beneficiaries, or even rename your trustee. Then, when you pass away, your trustee can transfer the assets directly to your beneficiaries without having to go through the court system and probate. If you only have a will in place, it would likely have to go through probate which means that your beneficiaries wouldn’t see their assets for several months. Furthermore, trusts remain private while wills become accessible to the public which make a trust preferable to those who want to keep their estate information confidential. 

Will Attorneys in Nashville, Tennessee

If you’re in the Nashville, Tennessee area and would like to know more about creating a will or trust, contact Brazil Clark, PLLC to get started. Attorney Frank Brazil and his team can help you understand your options and guide you through the process of estate planning so you can better prepare for your future.