Estate Planning in Middle Tennessee

Graphic regarding estate planning overview.

What is estate planning? 

Many believe that estate planning is little more than an instruction manual for distributing your assets when you pass away, but comprehensive estate planning achieves so much more.  It's true, a core function of estate planning is to provide for your family and friends when you are gone, but a well-conceived plan offers many significant benefits of vital importance for you while you're still alive.

Estate planning, simply put, is the process of making decisions about what happens to you, your money, and your property when you pass away OR while you are still living, but can no longer make decisions for yourself.  Life is full of surprises, both good and bad, and estate planning benefits nearly every adult, regardless of age or economic status, by providing a game plan to address the unexpected. 

A comprehensive estate plan helps you achieve the following:

  • Control and protection of your property and possessions while you are alive and well
  • The ability to designate someone else to take care of you and your loves ones if you become unable to make decisions for yourself while you are alive, and then at your death
  • The freedom to give what you want, to whom you want, the way you want, when you want
  • Help for your loved ones to make decisions quickly, avoid needless delays, prevent unnecessary expenses, and allows you to maintain privacy, if desired

It is also a great opportunity to focus on the legacy you want to leave behind for loved ones.


Your “estate” consists of everything you own.  Another way to think about it is your estate includes all your assets, minus any liabilities you may have.  This is not an exhaustive list, but you'll want to consider the following in your planning process:


Do you own assets?  Do you want to ensure that your assets pass to specific individuals?  Do you need to designate someone to make financial or health-related decisions for you if you are ever incapacitated?  If the answer to those questions is “yes,” you will almost certainly benefit from estate planning.  Why?  A properly drafted, comprehensive estate plan provides guidance, a blueprint for distributing your assets that your loved ones can follow upon your death.  It also provides peace of mind for you knowing that if you are unable to care for yourself or your family, there is a plan in place. For these reasons, and many others, we are able to recommend some form of estate planning for nearly every adult.


As life happens and changes occur, you'll want to revisit your estate plan. Here are some of the most common reasons to consider whether to update your estate plan:

  • You have received an inheritance
  • Your will or trust is no longer current
  • You have had a child
  • You have divorced or been widowed
  • You have remarried and are part of a blended family
  • You have started a business or the succession plan for your business has changed
  • You want to change your beneficiary designations
  • You want to name other fiduciaries (successor trustee, agent attorney-in-fact, patient advocate, trust protector, etc.)
  • Tax laws have changed and could affect your estate

Sometimes life shifts and you know that your estate plan will require changes. On the other hand, it's also easy to be focused on day-to-day living and not realize that your estate plan needs attention.  For this reason, we recommend reviewing it annually – maybe include it in a year-end review of accounts or during tax season – so that you're not caught off-guard if the unexpected happens.

Guidance from an Estate Planning Attorney

A skilled estate planning attorney can help you to meet your goals through a well thought-out estate plan.  Our team has a history of creating satisfying estate plans that bring peace of mind and help our clients avoid some of the challenges associated with transferring property and money at the time of their death. Contact us today to learn about your options.


Read More

Wills Versus Trusts:  What Do I Need to Know?

The Probate Process

Trust-Based Estate Plans


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James D. Foster Law is committed to helping you address your Estate Planning and Business law issues.

We’ll gladly discuss your case with you at your convenience. Contact us today for more information.

James D. Foster, Attorney at Law, PLLC
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