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Where there's a will there's a way

In Tennessee and elsewhere, estate planning is often beneficial to both young and old alike. Making a will not only helps to ease the estate administration process in the event of one's death, but it also helps to put one's financial affairs in order. Unfortunately, many adults have not gone through the estate planning process.

According to a survey conducted by Harris Interactive, an astonishing 92 percent of adults age 35 and younger have not gone through the process of making a will. Overall, more than half of all adults are in a similar situation. That could pose a significant problem to one's descendants, who may end up having to go through the expensive probate process.

The reason for the respective high percentages of adults without a will may be explained by some common misconceptions. For example, it is often believed that one's assets will automatically pass to their descendants. However, that is not always the case. Even when a person dies leaving their spouse behind, the spouse may find themselves having to navigate the court process just to hold onto the marital property.

On top of that, even those with a will often forget to update it regularly. That could pose problems in the event of the birth of a child, who may be inadvertently disinherited. It could pose even deeper problems if one forgets to update their will following a divorce, in which case an ex-spouse could stand to inherit a large sum of wealth from the estate. For these reasons and many more, both young and old Tennessee residents should consider taking the time to do estate planning, and to do so on a regular basis.

Source: U.S. News & World Report, "What Type of Estate and Tax Planning Do I Need to Do?," Susan Johnston, Feb. 27, 2012

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