Alcoa, Tennessee, Family Law & Estate Planning Law Blog

Reviewing estate plans after divorce important

Going through a divorce is an understandably difficult time. While there are many decisions that need making during the process, individuals will also need to consider how those choices will affect their futures. In fact, Tennessee residents may want to review their estate plans during or after going through a divorce.

Most people list their spouses as the main beneficiaries of their wills. However, after divorce, it is likely that a person will not want a now ex-spouse to inherit any assets. This means that the individual will need to review the will and make necessary changes to appoint new beneficiaries. This and other actions could help ensure that the ex-spouse is no longer legally entitled to a portion of the estate, though Tennessee law also has some provisions designed to eliminate the possibility of a former spouse taking under a will absent express statutory language to the contrary.

Small steps may help parents and kids with child custody

Most people do not plan to get divorced at the same time that they marry. Life changes can cause rifts in couples that can later lead to the desire the end the relationship. When children are involved, the situation can be more serious as Tennessee parents want to do what is best for their children, especially when it comes to child custody.

Though many parents may want to keep their kids out of the process as much as possible, children usually still need some information about what is happening. They may have questions and need reassurance. While answering questions can help kids better understand what is happening, they likely do not need all the sordid details. Often, simple answers will do the job of helping children understand.

How to make it through a difficult divorce

When you're involved in a contentious divorce, it might feel like there's no way to escape from the sadness, anger, discomfort and exasperation of the process. However, because it is a divorce, it will eventually end. It's this end date that you'll want to look forward to.

In the meantime, here are a few more suggestions that you can use to help you survive a difficult divorce:

What is sole legal and sole physical child custody?

When going through divorce, Tennessee parents often face concerns over the custody of their children. While they may initially think that child custody only refers to with whom the children will live, there is more to the situation than just living arrangements. In fact, parents considering their custody options may want to remember that both legal and physical custody will play a role.

If a parent is seeking sole custody of the children, it is important to know whether he or she wants both sole legal and sole physical custody or whether joint legal custody and sole physical custody would better suit the situation. When it comes to legal custody, parents have the ability to make significant decisions regarding the children's welfare. If a parent wants sole legal custody, he or she wants to be the only one with the ability to make decisions regarding medical care, religious activities and education.

Probate administration may seem difficult to begin

Any time a legal process needs to occur, most people expect a lot of paperwork and for it to take a considerable amount of time. These expectations are often correct, and individuals going through the probate administration process in Tennessee will certainly have their work cut out of them. They may even have a difficult time knowing where to start.

The person handling the remaining affairs of the estate is often referred to as the executor. This party will need to take the estate through probate, if the process is necessary. In order to determine whether the estate needs probating, the executor may find it helpful to review any estate planning documents the decedent created as well as inventory remaining property for probate assets.

Parenting plans are an important part of child custody

Wanting the best for their kids is a common desire that Tennessee parents have. However, it is much more difficult to determine the actions that will actually help their kids have the best lives possible. In particular, when parents are having to deal with child custody issues and parenting plans, they may worry about every choice they make.

If parents can work together, they may have a better chance of creating a plan that works well for everyone involved. Of course, rather than focusing on convenience for either party, it is important to view the situation from the children's perspectives. Between their schooling and other activities, kids are often busy, which makes parents busy too. As a result, it is important that a parenting plan work to keep everyone on schedule as best as possible.

Health care proxy, living will are important to estate planning

When it comes to many types of legal documents, it is not unusual for some documents to sound similar but have completely different uses. Because of this fact, it is important for Tennessee residents and those elsewhere to make sure they are using the right documents for their situations. This may prove especially true for those who are estate planning.

In particular, some individuals may have some confusion when it comes to a health care proxy, which may also be referred to as a health care power of attorney, and a living will. It is important to know that these are two different documents with two separate purposes. The health care proxy is a document that an individual can use to appoint someone to make medical decisions in the event that he or she cannot make those decisions due to incapacitation.

Franklin probate administration will move forward without a will

Failing to create an estate plan is one of the biggest mistakes associated with settling final affairs. However, this is a mistake that many people fall victim to, including celebrities. As a result, the deceased person's family is left to sort through the probate administration process without the knowledge of their loved one's true final wishes.

Some Tennessee residents may be shocked to learn that music icon Aretha Franklin died without creating an estate plan. Reports indicated that her attorney had encouraged her to create a trust for the estate, but the singer never actually carried out the steps to do so. Now, her estate will be distributed through intestate laws, but even following this law could result in conflict among surviving family and potential heirs.

Have you considered the liquidity of your assets during divorce?

Tennessee spouses who are in the throes of a divorce -- whether it's contentious or peaceful -- will need to find a workable solution to divide their assets. If the spouses themselves can't come to a solution on their own, then a family court judge will decide the matter. Ultimately, the assets will get divided one way or another. Therefore, spouses need to consider the fairest methodology to divvy things up.

Most spouses who own a wide array of property together -- such as real estate property, vehicles, works of art and other valuables -- know the importance of getting an accurate appraisal of the property before deciding how they will divide it. They also know to consider the tax liabilities associated with liquidating various property. What they may not remember, however, is to consider how liquid the property is.

New parents should consider estate planning

Becoming a parent is an exciting time in any Tennessee resident's life. While there are many happy times ahead and plans to be made, it is also important for new parents to consider less joyous possibilities as well. Unfortunate situations can befall any parent, and estate planning may be one of the most important steps to take in preparing for such possibilities. 

Because parents want their children cared for even if they are not able to do it themselves, they may first want to create documents that give someone else the power to control their finances in the event of incapacitation. A living will can detail how health care should be provided, and appointing a health care proxy gives someone the ability to make important health-related decisions. Additionally, creating a power of attorney can give someone the ability to control an incapacitated person's funds in stipulated circumstances to make sure the children remain cared for.

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Law Office Of JAMES H. SNYDER, JR.

James H. Snyder Attorney at Law
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