The ultimate peace of mind is knowing your loved ones will be taken care of when you are no longer able. Early and proper estate planning is essential in providing this care to them, while maintaining control of your affairs. Our attorneys will provide you with the options and knowledge you need to protect your rights, and those of your family. We provide creative, practical and cost-effective estate planning for any situation. Whether you are 28 or 68, it's never too early or late to give the gift of peace to those you love most.
Estate planning is not just for the wealthy. Protecting your property and ensuring that your assets are distributed based on your wishes is essential for clients from all income levels. The process of estate planning is proactive. Detailed and thorough planning protects your assets, limits exposure to estate taxes, and helps your beneficiaries avoid complications whether or not the estate is probated.
We begin with an analysis of your existing income, assets, insurance, needs, and goals. We then consider a wide range of estate planning tools beginning with wills, living wills, durable powers of attorney, and simple revocable or irrevocable trusts.
As we develop a deeper understanding of your existing situation and your goals, we may recommend:
- Specialized trusts, including special needs trusts, charitable remainder trusts, and living trusts
- Limited partnerships or family limited partnerships, which result in a division of interests that reduces the value of the estate for tax purposes. These can be used effectively to transfer ownership of farms, orchards, undeveloped land, and small businesses to the next generation.
- Limited liability companies (LLCs), which can reduce transfer costs and limit gift taxation when certain assets are likely to be transferred to a giftee on a regular basis
- Annual gifting programs, when carefully planned in advance, can minimize the value of your estate that may be subject to tax
If you haven't developed a written plan for your assets or feel the plan you have might need to be revised, contact Tressler & Associates, PLLC and let us help get your affairs in order.
A Living Will, also known as an Advanced Health Care Directive, allows clients to make health care decisions about how they would like medical choices to be handled if some unfortunate accident or illness left them unable to make these decisions for themselves. Countless situations can highlight just how important an advanced directive is to making these decisions. One such situation that we often hear about in the media, is where a patient is in a coma or similar state and they are kept on life support for a prolonged period of time, sometimes several years, without any real hope of recovery. Many in this condition would not choose to remain on artificial life support for an indefinite amount of time if they were able to express their desires. Most patients who make Living Wills express their desire to pass away in a more natural manner, while still retaining their dignity. Living Wills not only address a person's desires as given in the example above, they can also cover many other aspects of health care like organ donation and resuscitation.
Health Care Power of Attorney
Health Care Power of Attorneys are also very helpful tools in carrying out a person's healthcare wishes. A Health Care Power of Attorney allows a client to appoint someone else to make healthcare decisions on their behalf if they are ever incapacitated and unable to make decisions for themselves. These can include end-of-life decisions like discussed above but they are more often necessary in other instances like minor or major accidents and all types of surgeries. One example that is very prevalent in hospitals all over the nation, involves anytime a surgery is performed with the use of anesthesia. Obviously, while under anesthesia, the patient is temporarily unable to make decisions. A common example may involve a patient undergoing surgery to have their appendix removed and while in the middle of the operation, the surgeon finds that the patient's gall bladder should also be removed. Of course in this situation, the patient is unconscious and unable to consent. State law and hospital policies normally would not allow the extra procedure without the patient's consent. This is where a Health Care Power of Attorney would allow a spouse, son or daughter or any person the patient appointed to make the healthcare decision for them. Operations are not the only time these Power of Attorneys are important, they are very beneficial in any healthcare situation where the patient is incapacitated and unable to make decisions for themselves.
At Tressler & Associates, when we draft Advanced Health Care Directives, whether it involves Living Wills, Health Care Power of Attorneys, or other documents, we respect our client's beliefs and decisions to ensure that their wishes are carried out in a manner that is most important to them.
Last Will & Testament
A Last Will & Testament (more commonly referred to as a "Will), if done correctly, controls the disposition of a person's property upon their death. A Will can be a very simple and inexpensive document for a competent attorney to draft, however two major problems are apparent in this area of the law. These problems are easily remedied and involve first of all, most people not having a Will to begin with and secondly, some people believing they have a valid and enforceable will when actually it may be invalid and of no effect at all.
According to many recent surveys, it is clear that a majority of Tennesseans, and Americans alike, do not have a Last Will and Testament. Some surveys estimate the number of Americans without a will to be as high as 70%. This is a little perplexing considering the fact that we all work so hard our entire lives to acquire assets and then we allow the state to determine how these assets are distributed upon our death. For most people the reasons for not making a will include the perceived high cost or simply not taking the time to sit down with an attorney to have their Will drafted. Having a will properly drawn up is an easy, painless, and relatively inexpensive task that we all should make a priority.
The next situation that is very common in the Will and Probate area of the law involves the unfortunate trap of people attempting to create their own Will. Even though this can potentially be done, the procedure for creating a valid Will must follow the strict requirements of Tennessee law. If these legal requirements of Tennessee law are not followed completely and entirely, the Will usually will be found to be invalid and the persons property will pass as determined by the state. Hiring a skilled professional to draft this extremely important document can eliminate this risk.
At Tressler & Associates, we know you have worked hard to accumulate personal property, real estate, retirement accounts, and other assets, and it should be up to you to determine who gets your property. Remember, it's never too late to give your family, and yourself, peace of mind.
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CALL US: 615.444.2345