Estate planning is important for everyone of all ages and of all financial levels. However, many people find the idea of estate planning overwhelming. You may not have any idea about where to begin the process.
There are law concerning estate planning in every state across the United States and although the laws in most cases are similar among the states, there are some subtle differences from one state to the next. In Tennessee, there are several different documents that you will want to include in your estate plan and choosing to consult an estate planning lawyer is the best way to accomplish everything that you will need to make your estate plan complete.
What should be included in my estate plan?
There are several important elements that should be included in your estate plan, including your last will and testament, beneficiary designations, financial power of attorney, revocable living trust, advance health care directive, insurance policies/financial information, proof of identity documents, titles and property deeds, digital logins and passwords and funeral instructions. Within each of these element, you should include the following:
- Last will and testament: You should name a guardian for your children, if they are under 18 years old. You will also want to name a guardian for any pets. You will want to list all personal property decide who should receive which asset(s). You will also name an executor in your will so that you are certain that your wishes will be carried out to your specifications.
- Beneficiary designations: This includes IRA and 401(k) accounts, pension(s) and life insurance policies.
- Revocable living trust: This should contain a list of all of your personal property and the people and charitable organizations that you want to receive your specific assets. You may want to transfer your personal property into this trust and you will want to name a trustee to manage the trust after you are no longer alive.
- Advance health care directive: This document lists your medical care preferences and names a health care agent to make decisions regarding health care if you are incapacitated.
- Financial power of attorney: In this document, you will designate a person to be able to make financial decisions on your behalf. If you wish to have this person donate to charities, you will need to specify which charities and how much money.
- Insurance policies/financial information: You should have copies of all of your life, health, home and car insurance policies. Additionally, you should make a list of all of your financial accounts and institutions, such as bank accounts, credit cards, loans and mortgages.
- Documents of identity proof: The documents that you will wish to include here are Social Security card, certificates of birth, marriage and divorce (if applicable). If you have a prenuptial agreement, you will want to include that as well.
- Titles and property deeds: You will want to include all deeds and titles for all of your homes, cars and any real estate that you own. You should examine it closely and confirm that the owner who is listed is correct. If you have created a trust, you should make sure that the trust is the owner of your property.
- Digital logins and passwords: In this element, you will want to include the following: Designate a digital executor (you will need to state this in your will). You will also want to create a list of all of your digital assets, such as financial and bank accounts, social media and Email accounts, logins for streaming services and digital files (for photos and documents).
- Funeral instructions: This should state your funeral preferences, such as burial, cremation, et.; the specific type of service that you wish, what you want people to read, specific charities for donations and whether you want flowers.
Sound advice from a Tennessee estate planning lawyer
As emotionally difficult as planning your estate can be, it is something that must be done so that your loved ones inherit what you wish them to have and so you have peace of mind for the rest of your life. You have worked very hard to acquire all of the assets that you hold dear and you have the right to will those assets to people who are close to you and who you are confident will carry on your legacy after you are gone.