One of the most significant mistakes Tennessee residents can make regarding an estate plan is not having one. Individuals who die without an estate plan create a situation in which their loved ones will not receive their inheritances as they intended. Family conflicts can arise, disbursements can be delayed for a long time, and the estate may be subject to additional taxes that otherwise could have been avoided.

Many people in the United States have not completed a will or living trust. According to a 2017 survey, just 40 percent of adult Americans have those legal devices in place. The survey respondents reported that the main reason for not taking estate-planning steps is that they just haven’t “gotten around to it.”

The perceived low value of an estate shouldn’t be a deterrent to creating an estate plan. These plans are intended to help surviving loved ones receive assets in the manner in which the deceased grantor intended.

In situations in which individuals have no will, their estates will have to go through the probate process. Not only is this a lengthy and expensive process, the estate becomes part of the public record.

Individuals who currently have no will should have one drafted. Depending on the complexity of the estate, having a will drafted may require spending a few hundred dollars or more than $1,000. Even though there are online estate planning forms that individuals can use, an attorney can help make sure that a will is completely legal and thorough.

Legal counsel may advise clients about what type of legal devices should be included in an estate plan. The attorney may also assist with drafting wills and the provisions of trusts.