Most people in Tennessee want to make sure they leave something behind for loved ones after they are gone. Unfortunately, this is often easier said than done. There are many opportunities for seemingly innocent mistakes throughout the entire estate planning process. Whether dealing with wills, trusts or thinking ahead to probate, it is important to pay attention to even the smallest of details.
For example, it is common practice to bequeath inheritances to heirs using a will. What if an heir is younger than 18, though? If so, he or she might not have any legal footing to manage the inheritance. A court appointed guardian would take over managing the asset instead until the minor reaches the age of majority. While a court would not purposely select someone who is ill fitted for this job, this does create a possibility for mismanagement.
This is where trusts can come in handy. With a trust, the inheritance would actually go into the trust rather than directly to the heir. In this situation, the settlor — the creator of the trust — can choose a competent individual to manage the inheritance on behalf of the minor heir. He or she can also create specific instructions as to how it should be managed and when the heir should gain control.
Another benefit of using a trust is bypassing the probate process. Probate can be costly and time consuming, which is a lot to expect an already grieving family to deal with. Utilizing trusts whenever possible and appropriate could be an excellent estate planning solution for Tennessee residents who are dealing with these and other complicated situations.