I have been selected as one of the newest additions to the Board of Directors for the Chattanooga Theatre Centre. I am looking forward to helping this organization grow over the next 3 years.
Photo from Chattanooga Theatre Centre
Over the past week, I have had the very unfortunate task of telling two different families that the wills left behind by their now deceased loved ones are not valid. When a will is deemed invalid, it is completely disregarded and the deceased person's assets are distributed as though a will never existed. Those wills from two unrelated families had two things in common: (1) they were prepared at the last minute when the loved one was on their death bed and (2) they were both retrieved off the internet. At my estate planning seminars, I am often asked to identify the issues with online wills and, in light of the last week's events, I will share a few of them with you now:
- When helping a family plan for their estate, a good attorney will provide you with the vast array of options you have to distribute your assets and provide care for your children and grandchildren. An online will does not have the ability to discuss those many options with you.
- Many online wills are "one-size-fits-all" and are not customized to your needs. You are unique and so are your needs. They should be treated as such.
- Each state's laws are different when it comes to the validity of a will and those laws change all the time. Online wills often fail to account for those differences and, by doing so, result in an invalid will.
- Getting a will for free (or at minimal cost) is not worth the risk that it may ultimately be found invalid. In one of the family's cases I mentioned above, the father gave a house to his daughter many years before his death, but the house remained in his name. The will the father created on the internet stated that he wanted his daughter to inherit the house. Instead, given that the will is invalid, the house will be split equally between the daughter and her two half-siblings. This may very well result in the house being sold and the daughter receiving 1/3 of the proceeds - instead of a house that is paid for as intended by her father. The online will was not worth it.
In planning your estate, please take the time to consult a licensed attorney.
Approximately 133 new laws will take effect in Tennessee on July 1st. These laws cover everything from lifting the restrictions on silencers for guns to making it illegal for protestors to block a public road. View a summary of the entire list here.
Thanks to Chatter Magazine and the Chattanooga Times Free Press for the honor of being selected as one of the Top 20 Under 40 Young Professionals in Chattanooga. This year, the magazine went with a superhero theme. I chose "The Eliminator" because my business is built on eliminating potential and actual problems for my clients. Read the full article here.
Monday, May 22, 2017, I will have the privilege of sharing my personal story of overcoming obstacles with mothers who could use an encouraging word. If you know a mother (any kind of mother - single mom, teen mom, working mom, stay at home mom, etc.) who needs a little uplifting, have her download the free Mom Life app and join the discussion.