Estate Planning

The estate planning attorneys of Gentry, Tipton & McLemore, PC address both the tax and non-tax needs of our clients, both during life and at death.

Death taxes are now irrelevant for almost everyone. Tennessee repealed its gift tax in 2012 and its inheritance tax in 2016. The federal estate tax still exists, but with a temporary $10 million per person exemption that is indexed for inflation. The exemption is scheduled to revert to $5 million per person in 2026. In addition, the exemption is portable, meaning the surviving spouse can inherit the unused exemption of a predeceased spouse. As a result, many people who have not updated their estate plan since the mid-2000s have plans that are needlessly complicated.

Nonetheless, federal income tax remains an issue, particularly for clients with significant amounts in IRAs, 401ks, and other retirement assets. Special care must be taken to ensure that beneficiaries receive the benefit of retirement assets in the most tax-efficient manner possible.

Unlike in the past, for most people estate planning is driven by non-tax concerns. These include:

  • BLENDED FAMILY ISSUES–such as providing for a spouse while also protecting the inheritance of children from a previous marriage;
  • OUT-OF-STATE REAL ESTATE–avoiding probate in states with burdensome probate rules;
  • DISINHERITANCE–never leave anyone $1!;
  • EQUALIZING INHERITANCES–especially when one beneficiary has received disproportionate lifetime gifts or loans;
  • DISABILITY–yours or your beneficiaries, whether potential or actual;
  • ASSET MANAGEMENT–concerns regarding your ability, or the ability of your beneficiaries, to manage assets, now or in the future;
  • CREDITORS–yours or your beneficiaries, whether potential or actual;
  • FAMILY ASSETS–preserving a family farm or vacation home for the enjoyment of future generations;
  • Beneficiaries with SUBSTANCE ABUSE ISSUES;
  • SIMPLIFICATION of earlier, tax-focused plans.

We have many tools in our estate planning toolbox. These include:

  • Wills
  • General Powers of Attorney (GPOAs)
  • Health Care Powers of Attorney/Living Wills/Advance Directives
  • Revocable Living Trusts (RLTs)
  • Family Limited Partnerships (FLPs)
  • Family Limited Liability Companies (Family LLCs)
  • Spousal Lifetime Access Trusts (SLATs)
  • Intentionally Defective Grantor Trusts (IDGTs)
  • Grantor Retained Annuity Trusts (GRATs)
  • Qualified Personal Residence Trusts (QPRTs)
  • Charitable Remainder Trusts (CRTs)
  • Charitable Lead Trusts (CLTs)
  • Community Property Trusts (CPTs)
  • Special Needs Trusts (SNTs)
  • Dynasty Trusts
  • Marital Trusts
  • See-Through Trusts for Retirement Assets (aka Conduit Trusts)
  • Tenancy by the Entireties Trusts (TBETs)
  • Irrevocable Life Insurance Trusts (ILITs)
  • Private Foundations