What Is Estate Planning (In Layman’s Terms)?

What is estate planning? In layman’s terms, it simply means the steps you take to secure your family’s financial future. 


Estate planning is simply the act of making sure your loved ones are covered in case of a tragedy. It involves making decisions about what will happen to your assets and possessions. And you don’t have to have a huge bank account balance; everyone can benefit from having a plan in place.


If you’re new to estate planning, it can be overwhelming to navigate the legal jargon. Here, Franklin, TN, estate planning attorney Trent Linville shares advice for the absolute beginner and answers the question of what is estate planning… in layman’s terms that make sense!

It Starts With A Will


A will is a legal document that lays out your wishes for your assets after you pass away. If you have anything of value at all, you probably need a will. Without one, your personal property, including vehicles, bank accounts, and more, will be distributed according to Tennessee State Law, which may not line up with what you want for your family.


Your will should include information on who will receive what, who will act as executor, and who will take over guardianship of your children. Keep in mind that a will only takes effect after you pass away.

Consider A Trust


A trust is another way to transfer your assets, and you don’t have to be a millionaire with “trust fund babies”. A trust can be set up to take effect while you’re still alive or after your passing.


The primary power of a trust is that it avoids probate, which is the legal process of settling your estate. If you die intestate (without a will), your family may have to wait months for what you’ve left behind. But if what you own is in a trust, there is no waiting period. 

Choosing Beneficiaries


When planning your estate, you’ll need to choose who will receive your assets after you pass away. Your estate planning attorney will ask about any property, bank accounts, investments, and personal belongings you have before you decide who gets what.


Make sure you choose beneficiaries who you trust to manage your assets responsibly. You’ll also want to consider any tax implications of your choices. Ask your estate planning attorney for more insight into this.

Ordered Affairs


Your estate planning goals should not begin and end with a will or trust; there are other important documents you’ll need to get your affairs in order. These include, but are not limited to:


  • Power of attorney. This document gives someone else the power to make legal and financial decisions on your behalf if you become incapacitated.


  • Healthcare directive. This document outlines your wishes for medical treatment if you can’t make decisions for yourself because of an accident or illness. 


Consult With An Estate Planning Attorney In Franklin


Estate planning can be complicated, and it’s important to get it right. An estate planning attorney can help you steer through the legal twists and turns and make sure your wishes are reflected in your estate plan. They can also help you minimize the tax burden and other expenses.


An attorney can also review your estate plan periodically to make sure that it’s still aligned with your wishes. Life happens, and you must keep your estate plan up to date to account for divorce, death, inheritances, and other life events that might change how you want your personal wealth divided.


There is no question that estate planning is an essential process for everyone. It’s a way to ensure that your assets go directly to the people you love the most. Talk with your estate planning attorney about creating a will, trust, or both, but don’t forget to dot the Is and cross the Ts so that your estate plan is up to date all the time.


The Linville Estate Law, PLLC offers estate planning, probate and trust administration, and other services throughout the Franklin, TN, area. Linville holds a law degree from Belmont University College of Law and is a proud member of the Tennessee Bar Association, the Williamson County Bar Association, and the Maury County Bar Association. Linville also serves on the Springhill Board of Mayor and Aldermen. He chose estate planning as a way to help the members of his community best protect their loved ones. For custom estate planning solutions, contact the Linville Estate Law, PLLC today.

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