When creating an estate plan in Tennessee, the main objective is to ensure that the person who is creating a will or trust – the testator – protects loved ones and distributes the assets to the heirs as he or she sees fit. In many cases, this can be complicated. Disputes over estates happen frequently. Understanding the available options a testator has for a prospective heir who might need to be protected from his or her own personal challenges and to omit or remove someone from the document entirely will likely require legal assistance.
Understanding estate planning for complicated family situations
It is unfortunate that some families have disputes that are so acrimonious that a person wants to completely disinherit a loved one, but it does occur. There is a common misconception that the estate must legally be divided among heirs, but that is not true. Disinheriting a beneficiary can be for myriad reasons such as an abusive relationship, the person has substance-abuse issues and needs to be shielded from having funds to enable it, or if one heir needs the testator’s assets more than others. It is perfectly legal to disinherit a likely heir.
Even after disinheriting an heir, this can be changed. Estate plans are not set in stone and can be altered as needed. People are well-advised to address their estate plan regularly and determine if there should be updates. A person who had some of the above-mentioned problems could have addressed them and become an acceptable heir. For people who want to have a say in how their assets are handled after they are gone, a trust could be created. This can have stipulations and requirements that must be met before the funds are distributed. If, for example, a testator wants an heir to finish a college degree, this can be added to the document. Trusts are often viewed as difficult, but having a competent trustee and creating it in an organized manner can avoid challenges.
For estate planning, legal help can be crucial
Regardless of the personal and financial situation, an estate plan is a valuable document. This is especially true if there are family complexities that should be addressed as part of estate planning. Whether it is a will or a trust will depend on the circumstances. For help with these difficult issues and creating or updating an estate plan to suit the person’s needs, consulting with a firm that is experienced in estate planning can be beneficial to craft a comprehensive and effective document.