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When it comes to your health, money, and property, planning ahead is the best way to protect yourself and your family. Be prepared for whatever the future holds with a Will, Living Will, and a Power of Attorney.

Will
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A will is a document that addresses what happens to an individual's assets and liabilities upon their death. In Tennessee, an individual with a properly prepared and executed will can exercise substantial control over their assets. A carefully prepared will can protect your estate from inheritance tax in some circumstances.

A will must be drafted in conformity with the requirements of the applicable statutes mandated by Tennessee law. A will generally includes your nomination of an individual or individuals to serve as your personal representative, a statement of whether certain statutory requirements will be enforced or waived, a plan of distribution which may include specific transfers that you would like to make to individuals or organizations, the creation of trusts, and instructions on whether to sell or retain real estate interests.
 
Why should I have a will? No matter your age, health, or marital status, it is always preferable to have a will. A will states your preferences for the disposition of your estate. A will can be changed as your circumstances and preferences change. A will should always be drawn up by a qualified attorney.
 
What happens if I don't have a will? When a person dies without a will the law decides how a decedent's estate will be distributed, which of your personal property will be given to whom, and how your real estate interests will be sold. The only way to ensure that your property is handled according to your wishes is to have a will.
 
Can I make arrangements for the care of my minor children as part of my will? Absolutely. A will can indicate your preference for the guardianship of your children in the event of your death. A will can also incorporate various tax planning techniques. Without a will, the court will have to determine who among your family or friends will care for your children. Because no one knows your children as well as you, it is in their best interest for you to state your preference for your children's care should the need arise.

Living Will

Quite simply, everyone should have a living will. A living will states your preferences about what extended medical care will be provided or withheld should you become unable to communicate those wishes. A living will can prevent your family from having to make emotionally distressful decisions during an already difficult time.

Taking the time now to state your wishes can prevent those who love you from having to struggle with that decision later. Whether you are married, single, young, old, healthy, or ill, a living will insures that your wishes are carried out in the event that something unexpected happens. It could also spare your loved ones further emotional distress and potential disagreements over having to make such an important decision for you.

Power of Attorney
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Everyone, young or old, should have a Power of Attorney for health care decisions and financial decisions. No one plans to become disabled or to suffer a debilitating accident. A Power of Attorney allows YOU to choose who will make important decisions for you should the unthinkable happen.

What is a Power of Attorney for Health Care? A Power of Attorney for Health Care appoints someone to make health care decisions for you not covered in other documents. It is important to have this BEFORE you  need it because,  unfortunately, by the time you need a Power of Attorney for Health Care it is too late to execute one.

What is a Durable Power of Attorney? A Durable Power of Attorney nominates someone to execute financial transactions and take care of personal business for you. Think of this document as allowing someone to put your signature on documents when you are not present. A Durable Power of Attorney is effective during your lifetime and remains effective after your death. If you become ill or disabled, the court may appoint someone to make decisions and take control of your assets for you. The person chosen by the court may not necessarily be someone YOU would choose, so it is important to take care of this decision ahead of time.

While the information presented in this web site accurately reflects my interpretation of the law, it should not be used as a substitute for legal advice. If you are interested in learning more about these and other services that we offer, please contact us at (615) 860-3130 or email us at

(c)2008 Law Offices of Robert T. Johnson, Attorney