Protect Your Legacy with Thoughtful Estate Planning

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An outdated estate plan can be just as disastrous as no plan at all. The Law Offices of Charles R. Frazier asks clients to consider the many life changes that could render an estate plan ineffective, including:

  • Changes in a financial or marital situation
  • The addition of new family members
  • The loss or disability of loved ones
  • Declining health
  • Changes in charitable inclinations
  • A change in state of residence, and annual changes in tax laws
  • Annual changes in tax laws

A well-crafted estate plan can help minimize the risk of taxing authorities becoming the unnamed beneficiaries of an estate.


Last Will and Testaments are necessary to ensure that your estate assets are distributed according to your wishes. Your loved ones are more likely to respect your final wishes when you leave your desires in writings that are properly executed under Tennessee law. Your Last Will and Testament may also decrease the likelihood that there will be disputes about the distribution of your assets.

A Living Trust is a legal agreement between you as the trustmaker (a person with the money and property, sometimes called a trustor, settlor, or grantor) and a trustee (the person charged with managing, investing, and handing out the money and property). For most revocable living trusts, you can serve in both roles. You will change your accounts and property ownership from yourself as the trustmaker to yourself as the trustee of the revocable living trust. In the trust document, you or a substitute trustee agrees to manage and protect the money and property for beneficiaries' benefit. In a revocable living trust, you as also the beneficiary during your lifetime.

When you die, your substitute trustee would have the authority to manage the trust property or give it to the remaining living beneficiaries. Living Trust will pass your property to your loved ones that you leave behind completely outside of the court system, thereby eliminating high cost, delay, and invasion of your and your loved ones' privacy.


Powers of Attorney (POA) provide the assurance your family needs to ensure that your financial and health care decisions are made if you are incapacitated or disabled. POAs give other individuals or entities certain powers to engage in transactions on your behalf and for your benefit. POAs are important estate-planning tools that may bypass the need for conservatorships or other expensive legal proceedings.


Administering a probate estate can be a very overwhelming undertaking for appointed executors or personal representatives. Quite often, the appointed executor or personal representative is a relative or good friend of the decedent. Besides dealing with the despair of losing a cherished person, the executor or personal representative is also responsible for administering the decedent's estate following the decedent's Last Will and Testament or Tennessee law. It's critical to seek the services of a probate law attorney who knows the rules and law critical to probate administration. But it's more important that we guide you through this difficult time with the compassion and patience necessary to deal with the loss of a friend or family member.


For representation that can help you turn present-day realities and worries into a family legacy, turn to the Law Offices of Charles R. Frazier. To schedule a low-cost consultation, call 615-267-0125.

Estate Planning: When and Why?


We also help families find peace of mind by creating thoughtful plans to protect and preserve their assets while disabled or incapacitated and then pass their real and personal property to those they love at death. Caring for yourself and loved ones, passing along a legacy to your family, or maintaining control over the property you've worked hard for are all goals that we help our clients accomplish when planning for the unexpected and the inevitable. We do more than draft documents. Our clients need customized plans to address their unique family concerns.  We also ensure that all Tennessee laws are considered when preparing the most appropriate plan for you.

Estate planning is a comprehensive plan that addresses how you, your children, and your assets are to be managed if you become disabled and when you die. Life planning enables someone you appoint to care for you if you can no longer care for yourself. For instance, if an unfortunate accident left you incapacitated, financial and health care powers of attorney could help maintain control of your assets and medical decisions through trusted family and friends.

Death planning involves the creation of a will or trust, which is used to control who receives your assets after your death. Wills and trusts may also be used to minimize legal fees and taxes. A comprehensive estate plan allows you to give what you want, to whom you want, how and when you want. Trust-based estate plans also help avoid delays, privacy invasions, and sometimes additional costs that occur in probate court.


We encourage our clients to proactively plan for the future and avoid procrastination when it comes to estate planning. It is important to make planning decisions when you are healthy and of sound mind. Unfortunately, the Law Offices of Charles R. Frazier has received calls from clients who are seeking what is sometimes referred to as “death bed” estate plans. We have also had to decline representation in cases where a potential client is not competent or otherwise lacks the capacity to execute estate planning documents. While we may want to help all clients who call on us for representation, sometimes we cannot, especially when it's just too late.

There is a common myth that young people do not need estate plans. Young people are not immune to sudden incapacity due to medical emergencies, accidents, or other unexpected events. Once a teenager reaches age 18, the federal Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) dictates that their medical records and health information become accessible only to them as the patient. A release of information, sometimes known as a HIPAA Authorization Form, must be signed by the young adult for a doctor to speak to their loved ones about their care or health information, even if the young adult is still covered by their parents' health insurance.

Anyone over the age of 18 should, at minimum, have a will, powers of attorney, a HIPPA Authorization, and a living will. These legal documents ensure that your wishes are carried out in the event that you become incapacitated or disabled, or even upon death.

Hiring a lawyer can be a stressful thing, however, the Law Offices of Charles R. Frazier helps clients achieve the peace of mind that comes with planning for the future. Our experienced estate planning attorney can help you create a brand-new estate plan or modify an existing one. We guide clients through their fears and concerns and then help them find peace of mind. We are committed to providing all clients with personal service and attention to their legal matters.

Common Reasons for Estate Planning


People are motivated to establish comprehensive estate plans for many reasons, ranging from disinheriting family members to avoiding probate or even simply protecting their assets. The Law Offices of Charles R. Frazier is ready to assist clients with planning for all objectives.


The Law Offices of Charles R. Frazier helps our probate administration clients meet all of the legal requirements of managing a deceased loved one's estate. This is particularly impactful when our client is still grieving the loss of a close friend or family member.

Here's an important question to consider: When was the last time you had an estate planning attorney perform a full review of your long-term plans for your financial affairs, your family, and your legacy?

For that matter, have you ever sought out such a review? Have you taken the necessary steps to keep your estate out of probate when you pass on?

Many individuals believe their estates are protected against probate. But thanks to changes in your finances over time -and perhaps misconceptions you hold about the probate process and what triggers it -that protection can erode or disappear entirely. In fact, many people are blissfully unaware of just how vulnerable their estates are to probate.

This lack of awareness can have serious consequences for the next generation and many charities and causes you support. If you fail to identify these issues, your family may discover them at the worst possible time.

So, what can you do to stay current and complete? The answer is simple: conduct periodic strategic reviews of your estate plan to ensure that it's probate proof and otherwise up to date.

  • Probate can be costly. The total cost of probate can be anywhere from 5 percent to 15 percent of the estate's total value, varying in cost depending on the size of the estate to be administered. These costs are deducted from the estate, which means your beneficiaries will never see that money.
  •  Probate can be time-consuming. Even for a modest-size estate, probate can last between 6 months to a year, providing no complications. Your heirs won't receive their inheritance until probate is complete. Small Estate administration rules that speed probate up, but it still costs money and is a public process.
  •  Probate is public. One of the biggest drawbacks to probate is that it makes private matters public. When your estate is probated, your financial information, identities of your heirs, and other personal information all become a matter of public record, accessible to anyone who wants to look it up, possibly even online depending on the court system in the county in which your estate is probated.


A will or trust contest can derail your final wishes, rapidly deplete your estate, and tear your loved ones apart. But with proper planning, you can prevent that result.


will or trust contest is a type of lawsuit filed to object to the validity of a will or trust.

If a will or trust is successfully contested (i.e., declared invalid), the court “throws out” the will or trust. If there is a previous will or trust, then those terms will control. If there are no other estate planning documents, Tennessee's laws of intestacy will control. This can be a disastrous outcome for your intended beneficiaries.


Only a person who has legal “standing” can file a lawsuit. Standing means that a party involved in a lawsuit will be personally affected by the case's outcome.

The following people have the standing to question the validity of a will or trust:

  • Disinherited or disadvantaged heirs at law–Family members who would inherit or inherit more under applicable state law if the deceased person failed to make a valid will or trust.
  •  Disinherited or disadvantaged beneficiaries– Beneficiaries (such as family, friends, and charities) named or given a larger bequest in a prior will or trust.


If you want to support a cause or are otherwise charitably inclined, you should be sure that your wishes are well known to your family or a lawyer. A charity can be the beneficiary of a trust that gives you the ability to pass assets to charities without probate, delay, or expense.

If you use a revocable trust, you retain the ability to change or terminate the trust during your lifetime. If you don't want to change or terminate the trust you can give to charity through an irrevocable trust. Other giving strategies using trust designed to benefit one or more charities can provide benefits to charity and provide tax benefits to your family or yourself.


All children are a blessing. From the day they are born, you begin making plans to ensure that your child or grandchild has a bright future. What will their interests be? What job will they have? Who will they marry? While these are common concerns for most families, for those with a special needs child or grandchild, taking steps to ensure they have a safe, happy, and healthy future is even more important than the additional hurdles they may face. To help provide a prosperous future for your special needs child or grandchild, we suggest the following steps:


One of the first things you can do in your estate planning is establishing a special or supplemental needs trust (SNT) to benefit your child or grandchild. An SNT is a special type of trust designed to set aside money and property for the benefit of a beneficiary who may qualify for public assistance for medical and other care expenses due to his or her disabilities. This type of trust can be added to an existing trust or drafted as a standalone trust.


Besides creating an SNT, writing a letter or memorandum of intent can provide excellent instructions to the trustee you choose about what is to happen after you have passed. Although this document is not legally binding, it can give your trustee insight into your true intentions. You can include instructions regarding the types of things you want the money to be used for (so long as they are allowable under the various government rules), milestones you would like to see the beneficiary achieve, and the standard of living like the beneficiary to have.


Supporting a special needs child or grandchild can be expensive. While you are working or have a stream of income, you can allocate money as you see fit. However, not everyone has enough of a nest egg to continue covering these expenses for their special needs child or grandchild once they have passed away. By purchasing life insurance and naming the SNT as the beneficiary, you can guarantee that there will be sufficient money at the trustee's disposal to care for your child or grandchild. Life insurance can be an attractive option because it is paid out as a lump sum and does not have the same income tax liabilities as retirement accounts.


With the passage of the SECURE Act, most beneficiaries lost the ability to stretch distributions from an inherited IRA over their life expectancies. However, Congress created a new class of beneficiaries called “eligible designated beneficiaries,” including disabled beneficiaries. These beneficiaries retain the ability to receive distributions over their life expectancies, reducing the amount of income tax due when those distributions are made. Congress also passed additional rules allowing the disabled beneficiary's life expectancy to be used for certain types of trusts. If you have a large retirement account, we must meet to discuss ways this money can be distributed after your death to maximize its benefits to all of your beneficiaries.


Ensuring that your special needs child or grandchild is cared for after you are gone is likely a top priority for you. Our priority is to help you craft a plan that will ensure continued support and prosperity for your loved ones. Call us today to schedule your appointment.

Hiring a lawyer can be a stressful thing, however, the Law Offices of Charles R. Frazier helps clients achieve the peace of mind that comes with planning for the future. Our experienced estate planning attorney can help you create a brand-new estate plan or modify an existing one. We guide clients through their fears and concerns and then help them find peace of mind. We are committed to providing all clients with personal service and attention to their legal matters.

Tax and Estate Planning Lawyer serving clients in Tennessee, Michigan and Texas

At the Law Offices of Charles R. Frazier, we help businesses avoid or resolve tax problems and we protect families with cost-effective estate planning services. As a former IRS agent and veteran of the U.S. Army, Charles R. Frazier has the experience and understanding to find the right solution for your needs. We provide counseling and representation to business owners facing difficulties with the IRS or State Department of Tax Revenue. We also develop plans to help families preserve their hard-won assets so they are prepared in case of death or incapacity. Schedule Now

Middle Tennessee Main Office

4007 Hillsboro Pike Ste B
Nashville, TN 37215

Rutherford County, Tennessee

5258 Murfreesboro RD, #B
La Vergne, TN 37086