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Every adult would do well to have a will, durable power of attorney and health care directives, but a lot of folks in Nashville have additional needs for their estate planning. Tremendous economic opportunity has brought strong population growth, an influx of skilled professionals and young families, and greater overall wealth to the area. Maybe you’re trying to make things easier in probate court or maybe you have more complicated plans for your estate. Either way, it’s a smart idea to reach out to an estate planning attorney to help plan and protect your legacy.

We wanted to learn more about what makes Nashville estate planning different, so we reached out to Randy Hooper. With more than 25 years experience as a local estate planning attorney and a founding partner at Hooper, Zinn & McNamee, PLLC, Hooper has profound insight into what’s unique about estate planning in Nashville.


What’s Different about Estate Planning in Tennessee?

State laws play a big role in any type of estate planning, and Tennessee is no exception. One notable difference, Hooper tells us, is that “Tennessee has not adopted a statute authorizing a memorandum of tangible personal property. Florida, for example, allows a person to refer in a will or trust to a separate memorandum of tangible personal property listing specific items that are to be distributed to specific individuals, and allows a person to change the memorandum from time to time without changing the will or trust.”

This means Tennessee residents have to do a little extra legwork when the time comes to update which personal items get left to which beneficiary, but the basic formula is still the same. Hooper helped us understand. “In Tennessee, bequests of specific items must be included in the will or trust, or may be listed in a separate memorandum that meets the formal requirements of a codicil to a will (signed by the testator and two witnesses). I advise the use of the separate memorandum with the caveat that it is vulnerable to attack by a disappointed beneficiary. Some but not all other Tennessee estate planning attorneys use this strategy. The key is to clearly identify each item.”

Another big difference, Hooper tells us, has to do with real estate. “Real estate vests in the beneficiaries or heirs at the moment of death, and is not subject to the control of the personal representative/executor unless the will specifically authorizes the personal representative/executor to control, sell, and distribute the real estate. I consistently advise giving this authority to the personal representative/executor.”


What’s Unique about Nashville Estate Planning?

When we asked Hooper to talk about what makes Nashville estate planning different, he quickly demonstrated that he knows more than just the law when it comes to estate planning and his local community. “People in Nashville are very generous. Music City’s cultural centers and charitable organizations are well supported by its citizens during their lifetime and in their estate planning. Attorneys in other parts of the country do not see as much charitable giving as we see in Nashville.”

It’s not just monetary support, either. “Music City residents own an abundance of intellectual property, including music publishing, book publishing and the royalties associated with publishing and performance of these works.  We often advise our clients to include in their estate plan provisions for the inheritance and management of intellectual property….Our generous and talented songwriters and artists often give their artifacts and memorabilia to local museums, including the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum, a must see stop for every visitor to Music City.”

The potential for philanthropy aside, a lot of estate planning has to do with one’s personal legacy and generational trends that evolve over time. Hooper tells us, “The personal property we most often see in local estates include guns, musical instruments, jewelry, artwork, antique cars and pets.  I do not see as much fine china, silver, or family heirloom furniture as I saw 20 years ago.”  


Personalized Estate Planning and Storage

In the past, Hooper has talked to us about various estate planning priorities that tend to come to the forefront at different stages of our life. Similarly, our Nashville storage is an amazing resource for storing estate property that isn’t needed on an everyday basis, as well as other types of storage needs that occur along the way. Whether you’re buying a new home, starting a family, contemplating retirement, concerned about your health, or simply looking to reduce your estate’s tax burden, you may want to think about talking to an estate planning attorney, as well as finding the right space to protect your belongings.