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Tennessee Estate Planning

The Boy Scout motto is “Be prepared.” It’s a good motto to use when planning for your family’s future for the day when you’re no longer around. Tennessee’s estate planning laws can help you be prepared for any eventuality and make sure your estate is distributed to your family’s benefit.

There are plenty of tools to help you with estate planning in Tennessee. Whether you live in Memphis, Knoxville or Nashville, you have access to legal estate planning resources like wills, living trusts, advance directives and more. Using LawInfo’s Tennessee estate planning articles, you can learn about the legal ins and outs of securing your family’s future and connect with a qualified local attorney.

Tennessee Advance Directives

Planning for your health care when you’re no longer able to make important decisions is an important part of estate planning. Health issues like dementia and Alzheimer’s or other debilitating conditions resulting from an accident or failing health can prohibit you from competently making health care decisions.

To ensure that your health care wishes are followed by health care providers, Tennessee law permits you to create advance directives. Advance directives include Advance Care Plans (previously called “Living Wills”) and the Medical Power of Attorney.

An Advance Care Plans is a legal document in which you can specify the types of emergency treatments you want or do not want in the event of your incapacity to make decisions. The Medical Power of Attorney allows you to give a trusted representative the ability to make health care decisions for your benefit should you become unable to do so yourself.

The Tennessee Advance Care Plan typically includes the option of granting the Medical Power of Attorney.

Tennessee Wills

Of the several ways you can plan the distribution of your estate after death, a Tennessee Last Will and Testament is the most commonly used. (See Tennessee Code Title 32, Chapter 1.) A will is a legal document in which you can name beneficiaries for specific assets, assign a guardian for your children under 18 years of age and name a personal representative who will execute your will after your death.

Every will must be made in writing by a person aged 18 years or older and of sound mind. There are three types of written wills you can make:

  • Standard will—Your typical typewritten will. This type of will requires your signature and those of two witnesses. If a witness holds an interest in any part of the will, two other witnesses without interest must also sign the will.
  • Holographic will—A will handwritten by you (the testator). While holographic wills do not require witness signatures, two witnesses must be able to prove that the will and your signature are in your handwriting.
  • Nuncupative will—An oral will delivered by the testator upon the “imminent peril of death” and validated only upon your death resulting from that imminent peril. Two disinterested witnesses, one of whom must transcribe the will into writing within 30 days of its delivery, must be present when you deliver your nuncupative will.

A written will can only be changed or revoked by writing codicils, writing a new will or destroying the current will. A nuncupative will doesn’t invalidate a previously written will. Tennessee also limits what you can will away in nuncupative wills to personal property with an aggregate value of up to $1,000 or up to $10,000 for testators who are on active duty in the armed forces.

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