At Kizer, Gammeltoft & Brown, P.C., we focus on developing an estate plan that fits each individual client’s current personal and financial situation. We help guide families towards an estate plan that will achieve their objectives for transferring and protecting family wealth while also facilitating family harmony. For some families, this includes providing counsel regarding estate, gift and generation skipping transfer tax saving techniques or offering guidance as to how to provide for a surviving spouse while preserving family wealth within a blended family; however, for all of our clients, we hope to provide the peace of mind that comes with knowing that their affairs are in order.

In addition to preparing wills, trusts and other important estate planning documents, we work closely with our clients and their accountants, insurance agents and financial advisors to coordinate, implement and administer their estate plans.

Medical directives are written, legal instructions outlining your preferences in regards to medical care if you are unable to make decisions for yourself.  These documents guide doctors and caregivers as to end of life care, reduce confusion and/or disagreement about the medical treatments and/or interventions that you would want to be provided in certain circumstances and relieve family members of the burden of decision-making during moments of crisis or grief.  Tennessee law recognizes two different types of medical directives Living Wills and Advance Care Plans.


Living Will

Prior to 2004, a Living Will was the medical directive used in Tennessee.  By executing a Living Will, a person was indicating that he or she did not want extraordinary measures to be taken if he or she was in a terminal condition.  In addition, a person could choose to authorize the withholding or withdrawal of tube-feeding and IV fluids and could indicate whether he or she wanted to be an organ donor. Even though Tennessee switched to Advance Care Plans in 2004, many attorneys continued to have clients sign Living Wills, and Living Wills are still valid.


Advance Care Plan

In 2004, the Advance Care Plan became the preferred medical directive in Tennessee; however, both the Living and the Advance Care Plan are recognized by medical providers.  The Advance Care Plan allows an individual to specifically identify those conditions which represent an unacceptable quality of life and to more precisely outline what care he or she does or does not want to receive should his or her quality of life become unacceptable.

A Power of Attorney for Health Care allows you to name a person (referred to as your agent) to oversee your medical care and make health care decision on your behalf in the event that you are incapacitated or otherwise unable to communicate your wishes with regards to your health care.

A Power of Attorney for Financial and Business Affairs allows you to name a person (referred to as your agent) to oversee your financial and business affairs. A power of attorney can be prepared so as to be effective on the day it is signed or to become effective only in the event of your incapacity.

A Last Will and Testament allows you to provide for the disposition of your assets upon your death. In addition, under your Last Will and Testament, you may appoint a Personal Representative (sometimes called an Executor) to handle the administration of your estate, a guardian for any minor children and a Trustee for any beneficiary for whom you intend to leave assets in trust.

A Pour-Over Will is a specific type of Last Will and Testament used in combination with a Revocable Living Trust which provides for the disposition of your assets to your Revocable Living Trust.

A Revocable Living Trust is a trust you create for yourself while you are living. During your lifetime, you retitle your assets in the name of your trust, and your trust agreement contains provisions as to how your assets are to be held and managed for your benefit in the event of your incapacity. Upon your death, the same trust agreement provides for the disposition of your assets (effectively functioning as your Will) and can be used to avoid the time and expense of probate. Revocable Living Trusts can also be used to keep the terms of your estate plan private from the general public.

The modern family can take many forms and this can pose a challenge when planning for an inheritance. Our attorneys have years of experience in assisting blended families with these issues and can offer a wide range of solutions.

While changes to the estate and gift tax laws mean that this type of planning is no longer necessary for many families, we are able to advise as to when such planning may be advantageous and to craft an estate plan designed to minimize transfer taxes.

Irrevocable Life Insurance Trusts can be used to minimize estate and generation skipping transfer taxes.

Sometimes a trust is no longer working the way it was intended. It may have become too small to justify the cost of its administration or tax laws or beneficiary circumstances may have changed. Our attorneys have extensive experience with using the Tennessee Uniform Trust Code to modify, terminate and decant trusts.