Estate Planning


Advance Directives

Living Wills

HIPPAA Releases

Financial Powers of Attorney

Health Care Powers of Attorney

Revocable Living Trusts

Asset Protection Trusts

When you become a client of Smoky Mountain Legacy Partners, we guide you through careful planning to extend your love and support to your family in the darkest days they will face – those after your incapacity or death.  Your loving choices in our work together will make a crucial difference in those days to help your loved ones weather the storm and provide them with the resources they need to heal and adjust to new realities.

Our process first helps you organize your financial resources, reassessing your goals along the way. We then work together to craft a plan that ensures your needs and those of dependent family members are met during any period of disability you experience and that your assets are managed and passed along beneficially upon your death.  

Family matters

A combination of Financial and Health Care Powers of Attorney, a Living Will, and Advance Directive empowers people you trust to preserve and manage your assets, understand and enforce your healthcare wishes, and make decisions regarding your finances and health care if you become unable to do so. A carefully drafted Will can complete this set of documents to ensure your wishes are carried out after death, minimize taxes, and maximize benefit to your chosen beneficiaries. However, a Revocable Living Trust is an even more powerful tool that can both manage your financial assets during any disability and pass along your assets at death. A trust provides the added benefit of avoiding the delay and expense of probate while preserving your family’s privacy.  

Taking the attorney role of “Counselor at Law” seriously, we help you thoughtfully choose the trusted person best suited to each fiduciary role that could be needed – a health care agent for medical decisions, an attorney-in-fact for financial management, a guardian for your children, a personal representative to probate your will,  and a trustee of any trusts. These could be the most important decisions you ever make, and the choice is not always obvious.

Finally, we offer a choice to look beyond your financial assets to your life experiences, relationships, and values, and consider options such as our legacy interview recordings or letter writing for building, preserving, and passing along these intangible but crucial resources to your family. If you choose, we can also discuss ways to foster deeper family connections and ensure your legacy is passed in its fullest form across the generations.  

Our process continues with reviews at least every three years to ensure all assets are titled in alignment with your plan, that beneficiary designations remain up-to-date, that your chosen fiduciaries remain trustworthy and capable of their roles, and that your health care directives still reflect your choices based on your life experiences in the interval since your original plan. And again, we revisit the available options to ensure that the aspects of your legacy that matter most to you are passed along most wholly. 

Estate Planning At All Stages Of Life

Reaching Adulthood

Beginning at age 18, we focus on the basics of estate planning.  Advance Health Care Directives ensure your wishes are respected after an accident or other medical crisis. A Financial Power of Attorney empowers a person you trust to manage your finances if you cannot for a period of time. This minimizes the financial setback of such events and avoids the costly necessity for a court to appoint a family member or friend as conservator. Perhaps most importantly, this proactive approach allows you to decide, rather than a court, when you are ready to resume managing your own affairs.

Mid 20s to 30s

From the mid-20s to 30s, as clients begin to accumulate assets, executing a Will or Revocable Living Trust becomes more critical. However unlikely your death may be at this age, your choice of beneficiaries to receive your assets in that event could well diverge from the heirs at law the State of Tennessee designates for you. If you live with a friend, partner, or spouse, you may want to consider life insurance to protect their living situation and allow them time to process their grief without adding financial and housing losses to their challenges.


Becoming a parent brings new joys but also new responsibilities. For parents of young children, we create our most comprehensive planning, adding not only a nomination for guardian of your children in your Will, but a separate document appointing temporary guardians if needed due to an accident or medical event while you remain alive. This is perhaps most crucial for those whose extended families live out of state but can help avoid disputes in any family. We also consider whether you need to prepare a confidential document excluding certain family members or living situations that you believe may be inappropriate or even dangerous for your children.

Parents often wisely choose to ensure ongoing support for their families through life insurance and tax-efficient retirement and education savings plans. However, estate planning involves considering how these proceeds would be managed in the event of your death. Naming a minor as a beneficiary on a life insurance policy, retirement or investment accounts, or in a Will can result in costly and time-consuming court oversight until the child reaches 18 years of age. And that may be when the worst disaster of all begins. It does not require an active imagination to see the pitfalls of the average 18-year-old inheriting a large sum of money. We can help you choose a trusted person to oversee these funds and provide them with detailed instructions regarding your intended purposes. We then consider at what age you may want your children to receive their funds outright or transition to managing the funds themselves while providing ongoing protection from divorce, lawsuits, creditors, or even bankruptcy.

Middle Aged

As clients move toward middle age and their children become young adults, our process incorporates many of the elements from earlier stages of life. Your initial outlook on protecting children’s inheritance from impacts of divorce, lawsuits, or a business bankruptcy may shift. The need for some children to have a guided transition in managing their finances may become apparent. Health care experiences sometimes reshape or add new details to advance medical directives. We also begin planning for potential long-term care expenses to ensure care while preserving family assets. Possibilities include long-term care insurance, asset protection trusts, and other strategies to efficiently utilize family resources – time, energy, and financial assets – during any period of disability. Early planning can increase your likelihood of being able to age safely at home with the support that you and your family will need during stressful times.  


With grandparents and seniors, we address long-term care planning and add strategies for supporting younger generations’ educational and other ambitions as well as preparing to pass along resources in tax-efficient ways. For example, we can help protect and transfer assets such as your residence while preserving the step-up in basis to avoid unnecessary capital gains taxes. We work closely with your financial planner and accountant to identify additional tax efficiencies in alignment with the SECURE Act and other legislation that can adversely impact your family’s inheritance without careful planning. And if a medical crisis requiring costly long-term care occurs without advance planning, we can work to identify any legal pathways to preserve assets for family members, especially those who may be dependent or have special needs.

The Silver Lining of Legacy

Our middle and senior years can also be ripe with reflection that can enhance our legacies. A younger parent may want to write or record some encouraging words or blessings for their children to receive around a special occasion like a graduation or wedding. This expression of love can be meaningful whether or not the parent is still there to offer similar or different words of encouragement at the time.  In middle age and beyond, however, you may develop deeper insight into the memories and values of your parents and grandparents that have sustained you over the years, and perhaps also those that were not so life-giving. You may reflect on your efforts to pass on the best of your values to younger generations and where those efforts might need shored up a bit. Some may not be ready to receive those messages now, but our hope is to help you make them available later, if and when a need for your wisdom is felt.  

A Legacy Project of Our Attorney along the Walker Sisters Cabin Trail

"One of my highest personal legacy goals is to share the healing renewal I experience from hiking in the Smokies with my children and grandson."

Our goal is to help people in the best way possible. this is a basic principle in every case and cause for success. contact us today for a free consultation. 

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