It's amazing -- considering the numerous advantages of creating a last will and testament -- how many Tennessee residents have yet to finalize their estate plans with a will. The general advice regarding the timing of will creation is that you should have finished it yesterday.
As such, as soon as you can get to a local estate planning lawyer to write and finalize your will, the better. However, you may want to keep in mind that last wills and testaments do come with a few disadvantages that your estate planning lawyer can help you minimize.
Possible disadvantages relating to a last will and testament
It could be challenged in court: If your heirs are not happy with your will, if they think it's unfair, or if they think that you weren't "sane" when you created it, they could challenge it in court. This could lead to an ugly court battle and divisions in your family. For this reason, you should be careful when drafting your will to ensure that you're fair to your heirs.
Probate is likely: Your relatives and heirs will not have to go to probate court to collect your individual retirement accounts (IRA) or assets controlled by a trust account, but they will likely need to navigate the probate process to collect on the money you leave to them in a will. Probate can be lengthy and costly in some cases. Also, during probate, creditors can come forward to make claims against the assets and potentially reduce the size of your estate. Fortunately, there are some estate planning strategies you can employ to reduce the potentially negative effects of probate.
It's public: No matter how secretive you are about drafting your will, after you die, it will become a part of the public record for all to see. If you leave $1 million to your best friend, the rest of your family will know about it.
Minimize the disadvantages of your will
A good Tennessee estate planning lawyer will inform his or her clients on the complete picture of benefits and advantages of a particular will and estate plan. Yes, everyone should draft a will -- no matter how big or small your estate is. However, you may want to talk with your lawyer about how to minimize the potential disadvantages associated with an estate plan that depends entirely on a will.