Wills and Powers of Attorney

Knoxville Lawyer for Wills and Powers of Attorney

Tennessee attorneys ensuring your intentions are carried out properly

As the saying goes, “you can’t take it with you.” And, if you’ve acquired any assets or property during your lifetime, you have the responsibility to plan for the transfer of those assets when you’re no longer here. Maybe you want your money and possessions to go to your children, loved ones, or certain charities. However, unless you specify so in a legal document, your assets will go wherever the court says they will.

Drafting a will and appointing a power of attorney isn’t something you should put off. Aside from knowing that eventually we’ll all face the challenges of advancing age, these documents can also protect you in case of a sudden accident or incapacitation. The Knoxville family law attorneys at LaFevor & Slaughter draft legally valid testamentary documents by which you can transfer property or authority and memorialize your intentions. Give us a call today.

Estate planning matters our Knoxville firm handles

Planning a will or naming a power of attorney isn’t just for wealthy people, and it’s not just for “old people,” either. Everyone should consider these as part of their estate plan, which should also include:

  • Last wills
  • Living wills
  • Healthcare directives
  • Guardianships
  • Durable medical powers of attorney
  • Durable powers of attorney for financial matters

These are just some of the common estate and family law issues we can help you with. Just get in touch with us and tell us about your legal issue, and we’ll figure out a way through it.

What’s probate, and why am I supposed to avoid it?

When someone dies intestate – that is, without a will – the entire estate is frozen until it clears probate. This can cause unnecessary delays in releasing the assets to the heirs of your estate. It also introduces additional stress during an already stressful period of mourning for your loved ones. If your beneficiaries depend upon the assets you leave them to make their lives easier, you want to make sure they get that property as quickly and painlessly as possible, without having those assets eaten up by legal fees. A clear, legally valid will drafted by LaFevor & Slaughter can alleviate a great number of problems for your heirs. You can also avoid probate by setting up trusts.

Why do I need a will?

Like we said earlier, without a will, the court makes decisions about how your property is distributed after your death – and it might not go the way you hoped. These decisions could be everything from how your assets are distributed to who gets your beloved pet cat. If you have strong feelings, or any feelings about what happens to your stuff when you’re gone, you need a will. Especially if you want to leave assets to someone who isn’t a blood relative.

You don’t need a hugely complicated will, either. You can if you want to. A will can give your family and loved ones a sort of roadmap to follow in your absence. However, we can also help you establish trusts that can help you protect:

  • Inherited assets from third-party creditors
  • Assets for beneficiaries and heir who are unable or incapable of handling money
  • Privacy regarding your financial matters, personal assets, and business affairs

What are living wills and healthcare directives?

As we age, our reliance on medicine and surgical procedures often increases. Prolonged periods of serious illness can really make you think, “How much is too much?” Living wills and healthcare directives allow you to decide what the appropriate limits of lifesaving interventions will be. With a medical power of attorney, you convey decision-making authority to a loved one in case you become incapacitated and cannot give or withhold your own consent. The State of Tennessee maintains a FAQ page about advance healthcare directives in English and Spanish.

What does power of attorney do?

Power of attorney provides a broad array of power, but you and your loved one can customize it in any way that makes sense to you. Some of the things your power of attorney can do for you when you’re unable include:

  • Hiring attorneys or other professionals
  • Making business decisions on your behalf
  • Making funeral/burial arrangements
  • Managing financial accounts
  • Property transactions
  • Providing financial support to your family
  • Signing tax documents

You don’t have to have all of these in your power of attorney document. At LaFevor & Slaughter, we can put together a personalized power of attorney document that works specifically for your situation. There’s never a one-size-fits-all solution with us, because we know all our clients are unique.

Are there different types of powers of attorney in Tennessee?

Yep – there are four different kinds.

  • Limited. Limited power of attorney gives someone the power to act on your behalf for a limited purpose only. This could be for one day – perhaps you’re going to be out of town and need someone to sign some real estate papers for you. You can put a limited power of attorney in place for just that purpose.
  • General. General power of attorney is comprehensive and detailed and gives your appointed person the right to sign papers, pay bills, and make financial transactions. You can use a general power of attorney even if you’re not incapacitated but need help with money matters. General power of attorney ends upon your death, incapacitation, or when you rescind it.
  • Durable. Durable power of attorney can be general or limited, and stays in effect after you’re incapacitated. If you don’t have this and become incapacitated, you’ll have nobody to act on your behalf unless the court appoints one. Durable power of attorneys stays in effect until your death, or unless you rescind it while not incapacitated.
  • Springing. Springing power of attorney lets your representative act for you in the event you become incapacitated, but not until you actually are incapacitated. It’s vital the wording for a springing power of attorney document outlines exactly what determines incapacity and what triggers power of attorney.

Look to us to help you draft these types of sensitive documents with detail, compassion, and your best interests in mind.

Understanding Knoxville attorneys who support your goals

If it’s time for you to discuss end-of-life issues with an attorney, you want someone with whom you can feel comfortable. LaFevor & Slaughter puts your interests first. We listen carefully to your concerns, identify your goals and then present options for achieving them. Our decades of experience in estate planning ensure that your directives will be drafted in clear, unambiguous language so that your intentions will be honored.

Reliable powers of attorney and wills lawyers in Knoxville

At LaFevor & Slaughter, we’ve been helping our Tennessee clients with drafting wills, estate plans, and power of attorney documents for decades. We’d love to help you, too. To schedule a consultation with one of our Tennessee attorneys, call us at (865) 637-6258 or fill out our contact form today.