By Christian West-Coleman
NASHVILLE, TN — Greetings Nashville! We’ve entered a new year and it’s the perfect time to review our lives and prioritize for the future. While the topic may seem gloomy, it’s a great time to think about getting one’s affairs in order by drafting a Will. Wills are important legal devices for the distribution of assets after death. In my practice, I am often asked “Do I really need a Will?” The answer to that question is often, “Yes!” In order to guarantee that your assets will be distributed to whom you want and in the manner you want, you should strongly consider a Will.
So, first, I’ll provide a little information about how to draft a proper Will and how assets are distributed without a Will under Tennessee law. For a legal Will, Tennessee law requires that a person be 18 years of age and of sound mind. The Will must also be signed before two witnesses, who also sign. If you do not have a Will, Tennessee law decides how your assets will be divided. Tennessee law has a default plan for how property is distributed after death called Intestate Succession. If you have no Will, your assets will be automatically split between your spouse and children. If you have no spouse, then it is split between your children. If no children, then to your parents and so forth.
Thus, it is important to draft a Will so that your intentions can be carried out. For instance, you may desire to leave money to a particular relative for a particular purpose. Or you may have a business and need to specify how it should be managed in the future. Or you simply favor one child over the other (sad, but it happens). You can only do these things with a Will.
Christian West-Coleman is an associate attorney with McCullough Law, PLLC. She is spear-heading the firm’s Nashville Office, which is located at Washington Square, 222 2nd Ave. N., Ste. 326, Nashville, TN 37201. The firm can be reached at 615-730-0073.
This article originally appeared in The Tennessee Tribune.