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Tips for leaving an inheritance to a caregiver

Many Tennessee residents do not have close ties to their remaining family members and do not intend to include those individuals within their estate plan. In some cases, the person chosen to receive an inheritance is a caregiver. Many people deeply appreciate the care that they are given as they move through the late stages of life and want to reward that care once they have passed on. When including a caregiver in one's estate plan, however, there are a number of considerations that must be made.

There are safeguards in place to protect older people from becoming the victims of fraud or coercion. These laws are important, because they can prevent the theft of an inheritance from those family members who were intended to receive the assets in question. In certain circumstances, however, the individual was fully informed of his or her rights and made a conscious and rational decision to include a caregiver in the inheritance plan.

In such cases, it is important to draft one's will or other estate planning documents carefully, and with the assistance of a Tennessee estate planning attorney. He or she can include a document that asserts that the client fully intended to leave his or her assets to the caregiver. It might also be helpful to meet with one's physician, so that a professional evaluation can be made of one's mental capacity.

Including those two assessments with the rest of the estate plan can help ensure that one's chosen heir is able to receive and make use of his or her inheritance. It can protect the heir against legal challenges by estranged family members and make it far easier to pass through the probate process. For those in Tennessee who do not have close family ties, this is a crucial component of a successful estate plan. 

Source: wealthmanagement.com, "Gifts to Caregivers", Michael J. Fedalen, Jan. 28, 2016

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