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Creating an estate plan is not a priority for many people in Tennessee. Some even view estate planning as wholly unnecessary or a practice reserved only for the very wealthy or those who own lots of assets. While it is true that an estate plan is important for both of these situations, it is also important for virtually every adult in every stage of life. Consider these estate planning steps for a better idea of how important an estate plan can be.

In general, a will is one of the first documents people create when making an estate plan. However, before anyone can create a will, they must first identify all of their assets. This includes listing out all property, bank accounts, retirement accounts, life insurance policies and more. This step gives people a better picture of what they have to leave behind, which can make it easier when deciding who gets what. Even those individuals who do not have much property or accounts should still do this step, as they can update their wills when necessary.

After considering what happens after death, people should also consider what might happen before. In the event that a person becomes incapacitated and unable to make their own medical decisions, who will be allowed to make those decisions on their behalf? And will they make ones that align with the other person’s wishes. In a living will, a person can list out their medical wishes for this type of situation, and an accompanying health care power of attorney will give a named individual the legal right to carry out those wishes. It is also a good idea to include a financial power of attorney in the mix so that someone else can make sure bills are still paid accordingly.

Starting out the estate planning process can be an overwhelming prospect, but it does not have to be complicated. It might make more sense for some individuals in Tennessee to start out small with the basics, and then add on additional protections throughout the years. However, this is not ideal for everyone, and some people may need more estate protections than others, so it is usually a good idea to first speak with an experienced attorney.