Mt. Juliet and Lebanon TN

The start of a new year means beginning fresh and new. It’s not often a time when people think about death or what happens to their loved ones after they pass away. Unfortunately, death is a reality for everyone at some point, and you can help make that process a little easier on your loved ones by having a will and an estate plan. Not having one may cause family uncertainty and worry, and you want to make the process smooth. If you have assets, estate planning may get complicated. However, our Nashville area estate planning attorney at the Law Office of Yancy Belcher shares ten essential tips for estate planning so that you can start the year off right and know your loved ones will know what to do after you’ve passed away.

  1. Collaborate

Since estates may include multiple assets, collaborate with a skilled team to design an estate strategy. Working with a financial adviser, tax expert, and estate planning attorney in Mt. Juliet to create a tailored estate plan may optimize your heirs’ wealth and avoid estate taxes. Together, you can release your assets without miscommunication.

  1. Specify Your Preferences

Your estate plan should list your assets and heirs. Without a will, a judge may decide in Probate, which can take months or longer.

Our estate planners recommend including the following documents to reduce the chance of having the Probate Court process your estate

  • Medical Directive
  • Living Will
  • Power of Attorney
  • Will and Testament
  • Estate Plan
  1. Give Dependents Guardianship

It’s important to choose a guardian for your child, special-needs relative, or elderly parents if you have any. Otherwise, a judge may appoint a guardian for dependents. Never assume a guardian will manage your child’s inheritance before naming them. You can appoint a trustee to manage your child’s inheritance until they’re old enough. Divorced spouses may find co-guardianship difficult, so consult your estate attorney.

  1. Trusts

A trust holds money for your heirs. You determine what to put in a trust, who receives what, and how it’s dispersed. A well-structured trust can help your strategy succeed. It may also prevent Probate when a court decides on asset transfer and distribution. To choose and build the right trust, consult an estate planning and Hermitage trust attorney.

  1. Plan for Estate Taxes

Cash, real estate, stocks, and other valuables are taxed. If your estate isn’t liquid, your beneficiaries must pay estate taxes within nine months after receiving their inheritance. Your family may have to sell stocks or property you want to be preserved. Putting assets in an irrevocable trust or giving to relatives can avoid estate taxes.

  1. Avoid Probate

Probate is a lengthy and expensive court process that verifies your will and becomes a public record. Without a will, a Probate Court may make unfavorable decisions too. Our estate planning lawyers in Nashville explain that a will that names an executor and trustee can reduce these risks.

  1. Plan long-term care

Prepare for long-term care with your financial adviser. Long-term care insurance helps pay for treatment while safeguarding assets. In case your health changes, explore your possibilities and make multiple strategies.

  1. Consider IRD taxes

Not just the Federal Estate Tax is important. Income in Respect to a Decedent is a tax on some inheritances. Your estate or beneficiaries must pay income taxes on untaxed income if you die.

IRD-taxable income examples:

  • Payouts
  • IRA payouts
  • Bond earnings
  1. Update Beneficiaries

Our Mt. Juliet estate planning lawyers issue a warning about a loophole in estate planning and will preparation. Beneficiary-designated accounts will go to them even if your will says otherwise. Beneficiary choices shouldn’t affect your estate plan.

Accounts included:

  • Insurers
  • Deposits
  • 401(k) (401ks, IRAs)
  • Accounts payable-on-death and transferable-on-death
  1. Remember Digital Assets

You’ve probably considered possessions and money during estate planning. Don’t ignore social media images and online documents. You probably have password-protected accounts. Few laws help recover a deceased person’s passwords. To protect loved ones’ memories and records, name a “digital fiduciary” in your will. This person can access logins and passwords or hire a lawyer to end your online presence.

Estate Lawyer in Nashville area, including Hermitage and Mt. Juliet, TN

End-of-life planning may be daunting. Your estate plan protects your family psychologically, emotionally, and financially. Consult our estate planning attorneys in the Nashville area, a financial adviser, and a tax specialist to complete your preparations. By doing so, you’ll create a complete plan for yourself, your family, and your property. To find out more information or to start your estate plan, please call the Law Office of Yancy Belcher at (615) 773-2889 or contact us online to request an appointment.


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