Wills Lawyer in Knoxville, TN

Wills Lawyer in Knoxville, TN

Wills Lawyer Knoxville, TN

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Carpenter & Lewis PLLC has four lawyers, with varying educations and memberships. You can find a wills lawyer Knoxville, TN that you like that suits you and your case.

Why Do I Need a Will?

If you die without a will, you actually make things harder for your family. If your estate isn’t as large and complex as someone who had more money, you still want to have a will to make things easier for your surviving relatives. Know this, before we begin: there is more to estate planning than just planning out your will. You have to account for your assets, ensure that your funeral and other plans are accounted for as well.

If you keep written lists and inform your estate manager of those lists, it means they’ll always have a total list of your assets and wishes. An easy way to understand what estate planning is to work with a wills lawyer in Knoxville, TN as they’re going to have a better idea of how to word your will, how many copies to have of it, and how to handle the rest of your estate.

First you want to itemize! You want to go through your home, any properties you own, and make a list of all your valuable items, from your home itself to electronics, jewelry, collectibles, automobiles, and more. This list is probably going to be longer than you originally thought it would be, and that’s okay.

You then want to make a list of your non-tangible assets, like 401(k_, IRAs, bank accounts, life insurance policies and more. This list has to have all of your account numbers, the location of any physical documentation they’d need to access said accounts, and more.

Next you should assemble a list of all of your debts. This is open credit cards, auto loans, mortgages, home equity line of credit (HELOCs) and more. Again you want to include account numbers, any physical documentation needed, information on the company’s that hold the debt and more. You want to make this as easy as possible for your relatives.

It’s a lot of lists, and we’re going to tell you to make another list. This one is memberships, like AARP, The American Legion, college alumni groups and more. This is especially important if you make donations to them, or plan to leave a portion of your estate to an organization. You’ll want to include as much information about the membership you have with them.

Last but not least, your wills lawyer in Knoxville, TN is going to tell you to make copies of your lists, and keep the copies separate from the originals. Your originals should go to the estate administrator, your spouse or a deposit box, and lastly the third copy should be yours to keep.

Why You Should Hire an Attorney for Your Will

It Saves You Time

In some states, you don’t have to work with an attorney to create a legally binding will. However, if you try to write your will without a wills lawyer in Knoxville, TN, you have to abide by specific legal guidelines. You also have to gather paperwork to show your assets and support your will, but you may miss something without full knowledge of wills and probate. It takes time to learn these laws and write a will that will hold up in court.

If you have an attorney who specializes in creating wills, such as those at Carpenter & Lewis PLLC, the process can be completed quickly. Your lawyer will ask you a few questions, help you get your paperwork in order and write your will.

You’ll Receive a Technical, Specific Will

A wills lawyer in Knoxville, TN has years of specialized experience in estate planning, including writing wills and setting up trusts. These professionals can give you insight into building a will that protects you and your heirs from taxes and disputes, even if your family dynamics are challenging.

As a neutral third party, your attorney can build a will exactly to your specifications without bias. These professionals also take copious notes during the process so that if they are deposed, they can prove your will is written the way you wanted it.

It’s Cost-Effective

You may think that working with a lawyer on anything is highly costly, but creating a will is cost-effective. Although your attorney fees may vary based on your location, assets and the attorney’s experience, this process will still save your family money in legal fees. They won’t have to spend extra time in probate court, dividing your assets, and a clearly written, comprehensive will prevents disputes that could cost significant legal fees.

Your Will Can Be Easily Updated

Once an attorney has all your information and documents and your will is drawn up, everything is stored securely in the office of your wills lawyer in Knoxville, TN. Then, if you need to change something, for example, if you gain assets or want to change distributions, you can call your attorney and have your will updated quickly. In fact, reputable lawyers, e.g., those at Carpenter & Lewis PLLC, will encourage you to review your will periodically to ensure that everything is accounted for and all the instructions and distributions still reflect your desires.

Don’t Forget to Create a “Digital” Estate Plan

A recent development in estate planning is the concept of a “digital” will. For obvious reasons, transferring ownership and access of digital assets is not as obvious a task as transferring ownership and access of physical objects. If you were to leave your children your furniture, they would enter your home, take the furniture, and do with it as they pleased. If you were to leave your children intellectual property stored on the cloud, they would need to know how to access your accounts (and possibly the device you use to access your accounts) and the passwords for those accounts before they could view their property. Depending on the tools utilized to store your digital assets, you may need to provide formal permission for your heirs to access these assets.

The experienced Knoxville, TN wills lawyer team at Carpenter & Lewis PLLC understands how to navigate the ins and outs of digital estate planning successfully. And just as we can help you to ensure that your heirs can access the accounts that you want them to benefit from, we can help you protect yourself from unwanted intrusion into private accounts upon your death as well.

Utilizing Additional Estate Planning Tools

It is important to keep in mind that while a will is unquestionably useful and that virtually all legally independent adults should have one, it is not the only estate planning tool that you should have Carpenter & Lewis PLLC prepare on your behalf. In the event that you are incapacitated by injury or illness, you’ll want to have a power of attorney for medical care in place. You may also benefit from having a financial power of attorney document in place “just in case” as well. Additionally, having an advanced healthcare directive in place will help to ensure that you are not subjected to unwanted medical interventions during a period of incapacitation and/or at the end of your life.

Finally, if you have significant wealth and are concerned about excessive taxation affecting your estate at the time of your death, our Knoxville, TN wills lawyer team can help you explore revokable and/or irrevocable trusts as potential ways to safeguard against excessive taxation. Should you wish to pass down financial assets for a specific purpose (paying for a grandchild’s college education, for example) a trust can help you accomplish these goals as well.

Determining Guardianship for Dependent Children

If you have minor or otherwise dependent children and have not yet selected a guardian for them in the event of your untimely passing, our firm can assist you with this critically important task as well.

The Do’s and Don’ts of Creating Your Will

If you’re creating a will for the first time, you may feel a little overwhelmed. There are so many decisions to make and mistakes to avoid. How can you ensure your wishes are accurately carried out after your passing? The good news is, with a few tips and the help of a wills lawyer in Knoxville, TN, you can craft a will that makes it easy for your loved ones to carry out your requests.

Do Update Your Will

When your life circumstances change, you should update your will to reflect your new wishes. For example, if you get married, you should write a new version to include your spouse. If you buy a house, you should update the document to say what you want to happen to the property.

Don’t Make an Alternative Will

Making an alternative will may seem like a good idea, but it can lead to confusion. If you have more than one document, your heirs may not know which is legally binding. Understandably, you may have different wishes depending on the circumstances after your passing. If you need help clarifying these wishes, an attorney from Carpenter & Lewis PLLC can help.

Don’t Hide Your Will

Keeping your will safe is essential, but you shouldn’t hide it. If no one can find or access your will, it’s useless.

An excellent way to ensure you will is secure but accessible is to leave a copy with your attorney at Carpenter & Lewis PLLC. When you pass, your lawyer can provide the document to your executor.

Do Name an Attorney as the Executor If Your Estate Is Large

If your estate is vast or has many complicated parts, such as a living trust, you may be better off naming a wills lawyer in Knoxville, TN, as your executor. The executor is responsible for executing the will and taking care of any remaining financial obligations. This responsibility may be stressful for someone not versed in the legal system. Additionally, loved ones named as executors must fulfill the duties in addition to their jobs and family responsibilities. In contrast, attorneys take care of these concerns over their workdays.

Do Seek an Attorney If You Need Advice

Creating a will should solve financial and legal issues so your loved ones can focus on grieving and supporting each other. However, a poorly written will causes even more confusion and stress. If you have any questions, you should seek a wills lawyer in Knoxville, TN, for advice. Legal experts can help you resolve problems and offer alternatives to ensure your wishes are clear.

Understanding Probate

Probate is the formal process whereby a decedent’s estate is managed so creditors and taxes can be paid before the estate is distributed to the beneficiaries. The probate process can take between eight months to three years to resolve. The length of the time for resolution varies according to the facts of a specific case.

If the decedent died with a valid will under Tennessee law then an executor will be appointed to oversee the estate. If the decedent died without a valid will then family members can petition the court to become probate administrators. A court has the power to appoint a personal representative to oversee the management of the decedent’s estate.

If you are named an executor or an administrator of an estate you have an immense responsibility. Due to the liability, you can incur if you commit acts that are contrary to the law, you should consult with an experienced attorney as soon as possible after your appointment.

Some estates are not required to proceed through the probate process. If the decedent’s assets are in a joint tenancy with the right of survivorship or part of a living trust, the assets do not have to go through probate administration.

A skilled attorney can help you with the costs of probate administration, probate litigation, and trust litigation.

Living Trusts

If you are the current trustee of your trust then the trust is called a living trust. This type of trust will enable you to have greater control over your property. As the trustee of living trust, you can remove, add, sell, or buy assets within the trust. You can also leave an inheritance to your spouse without forfeiting shares of your assets for your children and grandchildren.

Funding A Trust

Funding trusts require specific paperwork and require you to survey your belongings. Skilled estate planning lawyers will help you understand the whole process. Retaining an estate planning lawyer will help you and your loved ones make better decisions about assets and liabilities.

Financial Power Of Attorney

The Financial Power of Attorney enables you to appoint someone as your legal agent who can manage your finances and property. If you think you will be unable to manage your responsibilities in the near future due to medical illness or injuries then having a financial power of attorney in place can protect your assets.

Financial power of attorney is more often used by individuals who own significant financial assets, real estate, or interests in corporations. Some of the responsibilities you can assign a Financial Power of Attorney to include the following:

 

You should speak with a wills lawyer regarding a Financial Power of Attorney. Any individual with a Financial Power of Attorney must oversee and manage your assets in an honest and reasonable way. Also, an individual with a Financial Power of Attorney must avoid creating any conflicts between his or her interests and your own interests. Lastly, an individual with a Financial Power of Attorney must maintain accurate records of all transactions made on your behalf.

Talking to Your Children About Your Will

Now is the time to find a wills lawyer in Knoxville, TN, and to discuss your plans with your children. Estate planning and wills are not easy to talk about with your children. However, this is a necessary discussion to make the process less difficult in the event of your incapacity or death. Let Carpenter & Lewis PLLC help draft your will so that you and your children are protected.  

Start the Conversation Now 

Probably the most urgent matter is to start the conversation right away. The sooner you start talking about this and the more you talk about it, the easier it will be for your children to hear. Discussing your plans now will make it easier for your children in the future.  

Provide Details on What You Want  

Your children should know how you feel and what you want. You may want to donate to a specific charity, or you may want to leave all your assets to your children. Make sure you know what is meaningful to you, and then you can discuss that openly with your children. You should even include a living will in your conversation. With this, you can specify whether you want medical treatment or do not want medical treatment to keep you alive if needed. It will be difficult and stressful for your children if there is no plan in place and if they do not know that plan.  

Include Children in Decision Making  

In most circumstances, it’s best to divide assets up equally between children. However, children may want to be part of the decision process. There may be a specific family item that they want to keep. This is particularly important if you have more than one child. Find out what each child wants. If there is a conflict, you have time to find a compromise now instead of leaving the struggle for your children to resolve later during a stressful time.   

Although this is difficult for people to talk about, it is a necessary part of life. The more discussions you have around this, the easier the conversations will be. Make sure you talk about these sensitive issues and have a plan ready to prevent undue stress for your children later on. Once you have an outline that you feel comfortable with, Carpenter & Lewis PLLC, a wills lawyer in Knoxville, TN, can help prepare your will so that everything is covered.   Legal Assistance Is Available

If you have not yet scheduled a risk-free consultation with the team at Carpenter & Lewis PLLC, please do so now. None of us knows how long we will be permitted on Earth before our estate plans will become an urgent business for our loved ones. Please allow our trusted Knoxville, TN wills lawyer team to help prepare you for that inevitability; we look forward to speaking with you.

 What is a will?  

A last will and testament, known simply as a will, is a legal document that allows a competent person to say exactly how they want their money, property and even care of minor children if applicable, shall be distributed, or who will care for them.

While in Tennessee you are not required to have a will, not having one can lead to problems for those you leave behind. Further attempting to draw and handwrite your own will while legal, is also problematic. Wills are governed by estate law which can be complex. If you’re married or have a family and or a business, or own property it only makes sense to let an attorney who is experienced in creating wills in your area and who understands the details, help you with your will so the outcome you want actually happens in a timely fashion.

 What happens if I don’t have a will?

When a person without a will dies they are said to have “died intestate.” That means the state will take over and distribute your property and arrange for the care of any minor children according to the estate law rather than your wishes. While at first this may seem an ideal answer to the situation, the problem is that estate law is a one-size-fits-all solution. The truth is you are an individual, and your wishes about your estate are unlikely to really be exactly like anyone else’s.

Not only that, estate law tends to favor the wife if you’re married. This doesn’t mean that the probate court (the court that administers estate law and hence the estate of someone who dies without a will) will give everything to your wife. But it’s unlikely your spouse will receive everything in exactly the way and/or amounts you would if you were writing a will. The same thing is true regarding any minor children. It’s pretty automatic that your spouse will be awarded custody. Spelling out exactly what you want for your children Is possible when you have a will.

In short, if you want something other than an automatic result, working with a wills lawyer in Knoxville TN like Carpenter and Lewis means you can have confidence that your wishes will be honored and fulfilled upon your death. C&L also serves clients in eastern Tennessee.

Schedule a Consultation with Us

We know you have questions about working with an attorney to get a will written. We urge you to schedule a consultation with us – just click on the button you’ll find on the upper right corner of every page on our website, or call the number above that button and we will be happy to set an appointment with you at your convenience.

Remember, Carpenter and Lewis are practicing wills lawyers in Knoxville TN.

 

Carpenter & Lewis Probate Attorney Consultation:

For a consultation with one of the probate attorneys at Carpenter & Lewis, please call (865) 690-4997 or you may prefer to send an e-mail to: contact@carpenterlewis.com. Consultations are by appointment only.

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