Skilled Cookeville Estate Planning Attorneys Helping You Plan for the Future
Comprehensive guidance for families in and around Putnam County
Estate planning is often seen as something to do “later;” when we hit a certain age, or when we have children, or once our business is established – or any number of reasons we give ourselves to avoid thinking about a future without us. The truth is, careful estate planning is a valuable tool to people of all ages, because we cannot predict what the future will bring.
Lowery, Lowery & Cherry, PLLC provides comprehensive estate planning services to Cookeville families, business owners and individuals. Our attorneys provide you with peace of mind now, so that you can live your life to the fullest now and into the future.
Transactional estate planning services in Cookeville
Much of estate planning is transactional: creating documentation to keep your affairs in order, so that your wishes will be carried out later. The ultimate goal is to move smoothly through the probate process, ensuring that your loved ones, your business and your charitable obligations are met efficiently and effectively. In order to do this, our attorneys will help you create:
- Wills. A Will is the best way you can ensure your plans are carried out the way you want them to be. Wills can outline who is to be granted which of your assets after your death, how you wish to divide your company, which charities you wish to help, etc.
- Advance medical directives. Often called “living wills,” advance medical directives outline exactly how you want to be cared for if you become unable to make those decisions for yourself. For example, if you do not wish to be put on life support in the event of a terrible accident, you can put this wish in your directive.
- Trusts. You can place your assets in trust so that your loved ones and/or business partners are protected. Irrevocable and revocable trusts, as well as special needs trusts, outline how your assets should be dispersed, when and to whom. Unlike a Will, which only takes effects after you pass away, a trust will go into effect the moment its creation is complete. This means that if you become incapacitated, your wishes will still be carried out.
- Power of attorney, or POA. A POA allows another person to act in your legal stead. A general POA gives one person the power to make all decisions affecting your estate and/or your business. A temporary POA has a set time-frame for how long that person can make decisions on your behalf. A limited POA applies to one specific area or type of decision. There are a number of types of POA documents:
- Durable power of attorney goes into effect once the principal (the person who assigns the POA, also called the grantor) signs the documentation, and will continue to be effective even if the principal becomes incapacitated. The person you appointed (called an agent) will legally be allowed to make decisions about your healthcare and/or your finances. Durable POAs usually terminate upon the principal’s death.
- Springing power of attorney only goes into effect with the incapacitation of the principal. It allows the agent to “spring” into action to take care of the principal’s wishes.
- Guardianship. If you have adult children who are unable to care for themselves, or if you have minor children, you (and your spouse, if applicable) should name a guardian. This ensure that if the worst comes to pass, and neither you nor the other parent are there to care for your children, that someone you know and trust will be there to protect them. Understand that a judge will still have to name the official guardian, but most judges will abide by the parents’ choices.
- Succession planning. When you spend years building a business and a brand, you want to ensure that it is succeeds, even after you are gone. Depending on the type of business you have, succession planning can help you identify new leaders, protect shareholders and stock value, or even divide your company as you see fit.
- Tax planning. Tennessee repealed its inheritance tax in 2016 – but that does not mean there are no other important tax issues to consider. Proper tax planning now can ensure that your family and business are protected later.
- Charitable giving. Whether you have been a lifelong supporter of Cookeville Rescue Mission or the Cookeville History Museum, want to set up a scholarship trust for Tennessee Technological University students, or wish to protect the Shakespeare in the Park productions – or any number of worthy causes in Putnam County and throughout Tennessee – an estate plan can help ensure that the groups you support can count on you now and in the future.
Estate administration and litigation services
Once you pass on, your estate will need to be managed. An estate administrator of your choosing will handle this, by paying all remaining debts and taxes, and by ensuring that your Will and planning documents are carried out. Any assets you have will be divided per your wishes. The process of this collection and dissemination is called probate, and estates can be caught up for months, maybe even years, when there is no Will to direct how such things should be handled, or by whom.
While we wish we could say that every estate is administered smoothly, there is always a chance that someone will contest your Will, or begin litigation proceedings against your estate. Our Cookeville estate planning lawyers help you avoid the problems that can arise during an estate’s administration. If litigation is inevitable, we will protect your rights, your wishes, and your family’s future throughout aggressive and personalized litigation strategies.
Speak with an experienced Cookeville estate planning attorney today about your needs
Lowery, Lowery & Cherry, PLLC provides comprehensive representation to clients in Cookeville and throughout Putnam County who are facing challenges to and with their estate plans. By working with a member of our team, you can rest easy knowing that the futures of your family and business are in good hands. If you have need of an estate planning lawyer in Cookeville, please call 615.454.9404, or fill out this contact form.