Compassionate Estate Planning Guidance
There is no getting around it: Every person must face death and taxes. You should be the one to decide what happens to your assets, loved ones and legacy once you pass away – not the courts or the government. Estate planning allows you to take control of your future and protect what is most important to you.
When planning your future, you deserve straightforward and compassionate guidance from a lawyer who cares about your interests. At Kuebler and Associates, PLLC, in Chattanooga, attorney Michael Kuebler will work closely with you to understand your needs and implement tools designed to achieve your goals.
Why Do You Need An Estate Plan?
Every adult should have an estate plan, no matter their age, health or financial circumstances. When someone does not have an estate plan, they have no control over what will happen when they pass away or become incapacitated. As a resource for those beginning the estate planning process, the University of Tennessee has created an Estate Planning Tools document to guide your plan.
If you are incapacitated in an accident and are not able to communicate, you will have no say in your medical treatment without an estate plan in place. Your loved ones will also likely have difficulty paying your bills or managing your affairs. Proactive estate planning allows you to provide instructions and appoint agents to act on your behalf in these scenarios.
Should you pass away without an estate plan, your assets will be distributed under Tennessee’s intestacy laws. This means your property will be divided among your most immediate surviving relatives. You will also have no opportunity to recommend a guardian for your minor children. It is therefore in everyone’s best interest to write and regularly update a will. If you wish to avoid the worst consequences of probate, it may also be wise to consider other types of estate planning documents.
Comprehensive Estate Planning Services
At Kuebler and Associates, PLLC, attorney Kuebler knows the most common planning mistakes and how to avoid them. He also works to implement streamlined planning strategies to avoid probate issues as much as possible and can assist you with a wide range of estate planning concerns, including:
- Wills: In your last will and testament, you can name beneficiaries to your assets, a guardian for your minor children, and a personal representative to manage your estate once you pass away. A will must be properly witnessed and signed in order to be enforceable in Tennessee. Your will is also a matter of public record and comes with certain limitations, including no control over when your property is ultimately distributed. Michael can help you write, validate and make changes to your will.
- Trusts: When you create a trust, you appoint a trustee to oversee assets placed in the trust. The trustee will be responsible for following all trust instructions and ultimately distributing trust assets to your chosen beneficiaries. Living trusts are modifiable and can function similarly to wills. Unlike wills, trusts are private and more customizable, and a trust’s assets are in most cases not subject to probate. Irrevocable trusts cannot be modified but can be used to achieve asset protection, avoid federal estate taxes, and obtain other significant benefits. Michael can implement complex trusts that suit your objectives.
- Advance directives: Your advance directives should contain instructions for the types of medical care you wish to receive or not receive in situations where you are incapacitated. Michael can ensure your wishes are unambiguous and enforceable.
- Powers of attorney: When you appoint a power of attorney, you choose a trusted person who will act on your behalf. In many cases, you can specify that your chosen agent’s powers only “activate” when you become incapacitated. A medical power of attorney advocates for you in health care settings using your advance directives, while a financial power of attorney handles other types of affairs. Attorney Kuebler is prepared to serve as your power of attorney and can help you complete the applicable authorization documents.
- Estate administration: Probate is the court process through which an estate is settled and can easily overwhelm the deceased’s surviving loved ones. A personal representative appointed in the deceased’s will or by the court will be responsible for inventorying and appraising assets, paying debts and taxes, and distributing property. Probate can quickly become an expensive and time-consuming process, especially if there are challenges to the legitimacy of the will or other unexpected complications. Michael is prepared to serve as your personal representative so that your loved ones can focus on grieving when you pass. He can also assist appointed personal representatives with navigating the probate process and fulfilling all legal responsibilities.
Estate planning often involves multiple elements, and it can be overwhelming to determine which documents you need. When you work with Kuebler and Associates, PLLC, attorney Kuebler will take the time to get to know you, your goals and your concerns before recommending the best options for you.
Get Started On Your Estate Plan Today
From writing your will to preparing trusts and advance directives, attorney Kuebler will provide detail-oriented representation with your goals in mind. It is never too early or too late to make plans to protect your family. Kuebler and Associates, PLLC, can help you implement estate planning tools that address every aspect of your estate and future. To schedule a consultation at the firm’s Chattanooga office, call 423-822-5915 or complete an online contact form.