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Estate Planning

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Kennerly Montgomery provides comprehensive estate planning services, including preparation of wills, trusts and powers-of-attorney as well as organization of family limited partnerships and related entities for residents of the Knoxville, TN area, as well as the greater East Tennessee community.

The attorneys who practice in this area of law are:



 Michael R. Crowder  Marshall H. Peterson  Alexander M. Taylor

Estate Planning FAQS

Below are some common questions pertaining to this area of practice, along with answers that you may find helpful. If you don’t see your question or if you need more information, please call our team at (865) 546-7311 or email us at firm@kmfpc.com and we'll gladly speak with you.

What is an estate?

An estate is all the money and property owned by a particular person, especially at death.

What is estate planning?

Estate planning is the process of planning for the management and transfer of a person's estate during the person's life and after that person’s death.

Estate planning includes planning for incapacity and emergency; reducing or eliminating the hassle of probate administration after death; and maximizing the value of the estate by reducing taxes and other expenses.

The ultimate goal of estate planning can be determined by the specific goals of the client and may be as simple or complex as the client's needs dictate.

What is a power of attorney (POA)?

Powers of attorney allow a person to appoint an agent to act on their behalf in case of incapacity or incompetence. Agents can be appointed to handle a person’s financial matters and to make health care decisions on behalf of the person.

Do I need a power of attorney (POA)?

Powers of attorney achieve the following goals:

  • Avoid court-appointed surrogates which can be costly and cause loss of dignity
  • Avoid family strife by pre-planning who will manage your affairs
  • Allow you to choose a responsible Agent who will respect your wishes
  • Define the circumstances under which the Agent can act
  • Communicate wishes unambiguously in a document that coordinates with the estate plan

What is a Last Will and Testament?

A Will is a legal document, meeting certain formalities under Tennessee law, that details the distribution of your estate after your death. Without a Will, your assets will be distributed according to the default laws of intestate succession. You can prevent this from happening.

What is probate?

Probate administration is the process of transferring a person’s property to a successor owner at death, under the supervision of a court (called a probate court). Not all property is subject to probate administration. Some property passes automatically (for example, by contract or by operation of law) to a successor owner at death, and so is not required to go through probate.

What is a trust?

A trust is an arrangement by which the owner of property transfers legal title to a trustee who manages the trust property for the benefit of one or more beneficiaries in accordance with the provisions of the trust document. There are an extensive number of reasons a person might want to utilize a trust in his or her estate plan. For example, the property in a trust passes in accordance with the terms of the trust instrument, and therefore the trustee is able to transfer it to the beneficiaries without going through probate.



If you didn’t see your question or if you need more information, please call our team at (865) 546-7311 or email us at firm@kmfpc.com and we'll gladly speak with you.

Further Resources

Avoiding Probate in Tennessee
Overview of Tennessee Trusts
Making a Trust the Beneficiary of your Retirement Account
Using a Tennessee Investment Services Trust (TIST) for Asset Protection
Using a Grantor Retained Annuity Trust (GRAT) to Transfer Wealth
Remain Qualified for Government Benefits Using a Special Needs Trust
What is Planned Giving? (and Using a Charitable Remainder Trust (CRT) to Give)

News and Recent Updates

Recent Changes to Trust and Estate Laws | Michael R. Crowder, 2019


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