Having a Last Will and Testament in place is one of the most important and beneficial gifts you can give to your family and loved ones. If you have yet to draft your Will, a Murfreesboro Wills lawyer at Bennett, Michael & Hornsby discusses five things to consider when you do create and execute your Will.
- Basic Requirements to Execute a Will in Tennessee. In the State of Tennessee, Tennessee Code Section 32-1-102 et seq. governs the capacity and execution of a Will executed within the state. Those basic requirements include:
- You must be 18 years or older.
- You must be of sound mind.
- Two or more attesting witnesses must sign in the presence of the Testator (you) and each other after you signify to the attesting witnesses that the instrument is your Will and you sign or acknowledge your signature, or at your direction and in your presence have someone else sign your name.
- When Should You Execute Your First Will? There are no prerequisites or milestones involved when it comes to creating your first Will. In other words, you do not need to amass a small fortune, become a parent, or reach a specific age before the benefits of executing a Will kick in. On the contrary, every adult – without regard to age, wealth, or familial status – should have a Will in place.
- Who Should Be Your Executor? When you think about the terms of your Will you probably focus on who should get which assets. The terms relating to the distribution of your estate certainly are important; however, one of the most crucial decisions you will make when drafting your Will is the choice of Executor. Your Executor is the person who will oversee the administration of your estate (formally known as “probate”) after you are gone. This person will be responsible for making sure all your assets are identified and secure as well as for reviewing claims from creditors of your estate. If your estate becomes embroiled in litigation, your Executor must defend your Will. As such, you should make your choice of Executor carefully, keeping in mind that your family and close friends will also be mourning your loss.
- Do You Need to Appoint a Guardian for Your Children? A crucial benefit to executing a Will for parents with minor children is the ability to nominate a Guardian for those children. In the event that a legal Guardian is required to be appointed because you and your children’s other parent are deceased (or unable to care for your children in the case of the other parent), your nomination of a Guardian in your Will is the only official guidance a judge will have when deciding who to appoint.
- Is a Will Better Than a Trust to Distribute Your Estate? Although a Last Will and Testament can distribute your entire probate estate (some assets bypass probate), you may wish to consider using a trust for some, or all, of your estate. When you decide to create your Will, talk to your attorney about the option to also include a trust in your overall estate plan. Among the many benefits to using a trust include:
- The terms of a trust remain private.
- Trust assets bypass probate.
- You can appoint a Trustee to guard the inheritance left to a minor child who cannot legally inherit directly from your estate.
- You can stagger an inheritance left to a spendthrift beneficiary.
- The right type of trust can also be used to plan for the possibility of your incapacity.
Contact a Murfreesboro Wills Lawyer
If you have additional questions about creating a Last Will and Testament in Tennessee, it is important that you consult with an experienced Murfreesboro Wills lawyer. Contact the team at Bennett, Michael & Hornsby as soon as possible by calling 615-898-1560 to schedule your appointment.