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Tag: Living Will

9 Legal Documents Adults Need. Preparing for When Your Child Turns 18.

When your child turns 18, they officially become adults in the eyes of the law. As adults, it is time to prepare the 9 Legal Documents Adults need. Yes, we realize this is not what an 18-year-old wants to think about at this time in life. However, while this transition is often marked by newfound independence and responsibilities, it requires various essential legal documents. These documents are necessary to protect your new adult’s rights and well-being. Here is a list, along with some essential information, regarding the 9 Legal Documents you should consider for your child’s coming of age:

Family Law, Living Will, POA

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Living Will | Advanced Care Directive. Empowering Your Future

Life is an unpredictable journey, filled with twists and turns when we least expect them. Amidst this uncertainty, one undeniable truth emerges: the importance of meticulous planning, especially concerning our health and well-being. Therefore, one indispensable tool for estate planning is the Living Will, otherwise known as an Advanced Care Directive.

Advanced Care Directive, Living Will

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What documents do I need for Estate Planning?

When a client meets with me about Estate Planning, after some discussion, I usually find that they need the following documents for proper estate planning; a Will, a Financial Power of Attorney, a Health Care Power of Attorney and a Living Will.

These are the documents I have prepared for myself. These are the Estate Planning documents I have prepared for numerous friends and family members.

Do you need a Trust? Do you need a complicated Will?

Usually not, but it all depends on the value of your estate. If your estate is worth more than one million dollars, we will discuss more complex estate planning opportunities to further protect your estate.  But for most families, the aforementioned documents take care of all their needs and ensure that their estates are properly handled when they become ill or pass away.

Proper Estate Planning Documents

A Last Will & Testament is a legal document we all need. In Tennessee, the law establishes who will receive your estate if you don’t have a will. And you may not like who gets everything you worked so hard to accumulate. Take charge of who gets what, when, and under what circumstances in your Will.

A Durable (Financial) Power of Attorney is a much needed document. Usually, if you are married, your spouse can handle your financial affairs when you can’t. However, if your spouse can’t do it, then who will? You can determine that person by having a Durable Power of Attorney prepared.

Of the utmost importance is your Health Care Power of Attorney. Who can make healthcare decisions on your behalf? Who do you trust to make the right decisions? You can make those decisions now by having a Health Care Power of Attorney prepared.

And finally, everyone needs a Living Will. We have ideas about how we want to live during the end stages of life. Make those decisions now in legal documents that your doctor and family must abide by.

Estate Planning does not have to be complicated or expensive. However, by not taking care of these legal matters on the front end, you can often cause your family to spend much more money later trying to take care of these matters for you.

Are you prepared?

For instance, a simple Health Care Power of Attorney can cost money. However, should you fail to prepare this document and then require medical care you cannot consent to, your family will be forced to hire an attorney to file a Petition for Conservatorship. The Court will require a hearing to determine who can make health care decisions for you. Doctor Affidavits will be required, and a Guardian Ad Litem will often be appointed. Conservatorships can cost a family a few thousand dollars. A Health Care Power of Attorney would have avoided all of this.

If you have questions about these documents or proper Estate Planning, contact us

Last Will & Testament, Living Will, Power of Attorney

Safekeeping of a Will in Tennessee

Daily, I answer questions about the safekeeping of a Will in Tennesee.   I tell my Tennessee clients where I keep my Last Will & Testament, Powers of Attorney, and Living Will.  These documents are in my desk drawer in my office. They are not under lock and key. And I have told many people where they are located.  Additionally,  I have not given a copy of them to anybody.  They are not recorded at the county registrar.

However, most people place their Last Will & Testament and other important legal documents in lock boxes or safety deposit boxes at their local bank. The problem is, if you pass away, your family may be unable to access those areas without Court Orders.  This can become a  huge problem and sometimes a costly problem. As an attorney, I am required, at least at first, to present an Original Will to the Judge. If the family can not get their hands on the original Will, we have a problem even before the probate process starts.

I advise the safekeeping of your will Will, in its Original form, in an easy-to-find, accessible location.

If you are concerned that someone will find your Will and be upset by it or, worse yet, destroy it, we can discuss other options. For the rest of us, though, keep it simple.

Another question I am asked is, to whom should I give copies of the Will?  We will make you as many copies as you need. However, giving out too many copies causes a problem should you ever change your Will; in some cases, copies of old Wills have been brought to court in the hopes of having them probated.

I recently represented a person in a case like this. Heirs in an old Will attempted to probate a copy of the decedent’s former Will. My client (the rightful heir) was successful at both the trial and appellate levels; however, had the decedent not given out so many copies of the previous Will, this protracted litigation may have been avoided.

If you have questions about proper Wills or proper Estate Planning, contact us at

Last Will & Testament, Living Will, Powers of Attorney, Safe Keeping of a Will