Now is the time to start talking about estate planning

Estate planning is one of those things many people don’t want to talk about. But it’s a discussion most people need to have sooner or later. We’d recommend sooner. 

As you’re considering your estate plan, here’s a checklist of things you’ll want to discuss with your family, friends and attorney:


What do you want your will to say?

As we’ve previously written in this blog, 6 out of 10 Americans do not have a will. But wills, no matter your age and accumulated assets, are a good idea for a variety of reasons. One of the biggest reasons is that a will can you bring you the comfort that comes with knowing your family will be financially secure after you’re gone. Part of your legacy will be continuing to provide for them when you’re no longer living.

Do you have a plan for your children’s future and property?

If you have children who are still minors, you will need to carefully outline your plan for your children and for any property they may inherit from you.

What would happen to your business without you?

If you’re a small business owner, your business may depend on you to show up for work every day. You’ll need a solid succession plan for what happens to the business if you’re not there. Will it be sold off or handed down or is someone next in line to run it? In any of these scenarios, you’ll need to outline who is ultimately responsible for the profits and losses statement. Come tax time, your family will be grateful you went ahead and worked through this with an attorney.

Do you have a living will?

If not, you need one. With new advancements in medical technology and medicine, doctors are able to keep people alive past the point when they have the cognitive capacity to make complex decisions. That’s why you need to decide in advance what steps you would like doctors to take to keep you alive. In Tennessee, a living will – or Advance Care Plan – will let doctors and your family know what you would want in any given situation. These documents need to be filled out and signed while you are of sound mind, and they need to be witnessed or notarized. Once your living will is finalized, it will stay that way unless you change your mind. 

Where will your final resting place be?

Again, because it’s a morbid thought, many people avoid this subject. But by not properly planning, you’ll be leaving your loved ones with difficult decisions and questions they may not be prepared to answer. Many families move from city to city and state to state, and this can present issues when choosing where to be buried, particularly if you want your final resting place to be near previous and future generations. Talk to your parents and your children (if they’re adults) about where they want to be buried. You’ll also need to decide if you want to be cremated, whether you want to be an organ donor and what you’d like for your funeral to be like. Your attorney can help you work with your bank to set up an account that would cover all expenses upon your death.