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Nashville Estate Administration Law Blog

Executing a will: Get the right support

You were surprised when you were informed that you were the executor of your mother's estate. You have siblings, so you thought you'd share the responsibility. Nevertheless, you're now the one handling the estate, and you need to make sure it's done correctly. You know you need to execute the will. You know that there are many steps that you may not be clear on.

Many executors choose to work with an attorney, because handling an estate is a complex process. Here is what you should know.

Choosing your heirs? Think carefully

You've been thinking about building your estate plan, but before you can assign any assets, you'll need to choose your heirs and beneficiaries.

It can be hard to choose heirs, especially if you don't have children or family you're close to. If you have many nieces or nephews, close friends or colleagues, then you may want to leave some assets to those beneficiaries.

Should you leave behind an inheritance for your children?

You've been wrestling with a question for a little while. Should you leave your children an inheritance? You have the money to do it, but you want them to be successful in their own right. While you're happy to leave them something extra to help them on their way, you don't want to be the parent that gives your children so much money or so many assets that they never have to work a day in their lives.

Before you scratch an inheritance off your to-do list, remember that there are some good reasons to leave inheritances to your children. First, it leaves them with a positive feeling about you after you go. They'll be dealing with your funeral and final wishes, so an inheritance can be a final nod of gratefulness for their support.

How is probate managed in Tennessee?

The general idea around a probate court is to give ordinary people access to basic functions of the law so no one is ever unheard. In the modern age, this applies mostly to the legal functions surrounding a person's estate. Sometimes, a person left no estate plan. So how is the fate of their property and money decided?

The 95 counties in Tennessee are divided up into judicial districts the same way that federal courts have districts throughout the country. Each district has a chancery court that handles probate unless the county where a person resided upon death has its own probate court created by a private act.

  • What if multiple counties or states are involved?

Have a 401(k)? Write down the right beneficiary

You have a 401(k) that you've built up for years. If you pass away, you want to know that it will go to the right person.

Be careful about what you do, and make sure you update your beneficiary designation when need be. If you name someone as a beneficiary and pass away, it will be very difficult for anyone to challenge that decision if you haven't updated the beneficiary.

Prepare your inheritance and limit expenses with good legal help

An inheritance is something that many people think that they may want to receive, but what's interesting is that people often don't know that they'll be receiving one. It's not typical to talk about inheritances in the United States, and many people don't discuss their estate plans with their next of kin or children.

If you are planning to leave behind inheritances to those you love, it can be a good idea to talk to them about it. The inheritance you plan to leave behind may not be what they expect, so it's a smart choice to discuss how you'd like them to use the inheritance you give them or why you chose to leave behind what you did.

Plan right, and your executor will have an easier time

You have an estate plan, and you think it's as good as it's going to get. Before you think that you're done, wait a second and consider talking to your attorney. What you think is iron-clad could actually be an estate plan that is not as well-planned as you thought.

The unfortunate truth is that life sometimes changes. Sometimes, laws change and the people around you change, too. You might be faced with unexpected challenges or windfalls that you need to address in your estate plan, too.

Choosing to leave uneven inheritances? Don't surprise your heirs

You have multiple heirs, and you want to make sure there isn't a fight when you pass away and leave some with more inheritance than others. The reality is that you need to sit down and have a conversation with your heirs, but you don't know how to approach the situation without causing a conflict.

There are a few different ways that you can talk to your heirs and beneficiaries about what you're planning in the future. One option is to have everyone come to a meeting at your attorney's office.

If a will may have been tampered with, can you litigate?

Your father passed away, and it was with his death that your parents' estate was ready to be passed on to you and your siblings. When you saw the will, you were taken aback by its contents. Only your two other siblings were included, and you were left out completely.

You stood to inherit a portion of the value of your family home, money from trusts your parents had set aside and more. You're not sure how this has happened because it was you who spent your time taking care of your father in the nursing home. In fact, you're not sure that your siblings ever visited him there at all.

Adding a no-contest clause can help enforce your decisions

An inheritance can be an exciting idea for your children, which is why you've never taken the time to sit down with them and talk about it. Before you do that, you want to have everything in order, so there is no confusion and can be no complaints.

One of the things you worry about most is that there is the risk that one of your children will contest your will. If any of them aren't happy with your decisions, you worry that they will take the others to court to try to get more than what you left for them.

When you need legal help, we are here for you.

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