What is Estate Planning?
You may have heard the term “Estate Planning” and not really known exactly what it entails. You may think that having an estate involves having real estate or large amounts of money. However, believe it or not, you have an estate. Actually, nearly everyone has an estate. An estate is merely just a term to describe everything that you own. Whether you have a car, a home, real property, life insurance, savings accounts, checking accounts, personal property, it all is considered to be part of your estate. Similarly, an estate plan is merely a plan to handle your affairs and set forth your wishes if you are ever unable to do so.
We all know that life is full of uncertainty. You may encounter both ups and downs. However, it is critical that you prepare for whatever life may throw your way. You want to make sure that your wishes to care for your loved ones are carried out. An estate plan can encompass a number of aspects to ensure that your wishes are carried out.
One of the most basic pieces of estate planning is a last will and testament. In its most basic form, a will is a legal document that outlines where you want your assets to go after you die. However, a last will and testament can also include more than just a means of distributing your assets. An important aspect of a will can be designating a guardian for any minor children. This sets forth your wishes regarding the care of your children in case anything was to ever happen to you or a spouse. Another important aspect of a will is the ability to specify who would receive what of your assets. Every family has its own needs. Some family members may have greater needs than others. A will can allow you to specify where assets should be distributed based on certain needs. Further a will can ensure that your wishes are carried out regarding your remains or any funeral service.
Another important piece of estate planning is a health care directive. Health care directives are legal documents that set forth your wishes for your care in the event that you are unable to make a decision. These types of documents can include a living will, power of attorney, or an appointment of a health care agent. Each document serves a different purpose, but they all allocate the decision making authority regarding your health care treatment to another individual in the event of incapacitation or a serious illness.
While these are only just some of the aspects of estate planning, the process truly can encompass much more. You can customize your estate plan to your specific needs. However, the important thing is that you have an estate plan in place. If you need help getting started with your estate plan, feel free to give the Tennessee estate planning attorneys a call. At The Higgins Firm our Nashville based estate planning lawyers would be happy to answer some of your questions.