Ensuring That Your Final Wishes Remain Private

With the end of the year fast approaching, now is the time to fine tune your estate plan before you get caught up in the chaos of the holiday season. One area of planning that many people overlook is ensuring that their final wishes remain private. Will Your Final Wishes Become a Public Court Record? Let's face it, planning for what happens if you become mentally incapacitated or die is an extremely personal matter. Why? Because this type of planning deals with all of the intimate details of your life, including any skeletons in the closet, who you consider to be your real family, what you own, and who you owe. When you're sitting across the table from your estate planning attorney, you'll need to 'spill the beans' and let your attorney know your true feelings and ultimate goals. And then once you have done this, there it is - all of the intimate details of your life written down in black and white in your estate planning documents, quite possibly for the whole world to see. The good news is that because of the attorney-client privilege, no one can see your estate planning documents unless you give them permission. But this will only work while you're alive. After you die and your will is filed for probate, it becomes a public court record that anyone can read (recent celebrity examples include actors James Gandolfini and Philip Seymour Hoffman). It is also possible for your revocable trust to become a public court record that anyone can read (celebrity examples include Farrah Fawcett and Michael Jackson). Or what happens if you don't have any estate plan at all? NFL quarterback Steve McNair's public probate court proceedings are a prime example of how the public can learn the dirty little secrets about a deceased person - two illegitimate children and possibly others, multiple girlfriends - and all about the deceased person's property and its value - cash, investments, businesses, and multiple homes valued near $20 million. If you don't have a personalized estate plan, your family could be stuck with the state's default plan. We've never had a client who wanted their personal plan to be exactly like the state's default plan, so we strongly advise you to meet with an experienced estate planning attorney now to make sure that doesn't happen to your family. What Can You Do to Keep Your Estate Plan Private? If privacy and discretion are important to you, then these goals should be, and certainly can be, carried over into your estate plan. If you already have an estate plan, check with your estate planning attorney to determine how private your plan will be after you die and make any necessary adjustments. On the other hand, if you're currently working on your estate plan, make sure your estate planning attorney is aware of how important privacy and discretion are to you so that these goals can be incorporated into your estate plan from the beginning.

About the Company:

Heritage Law Group, PLLC is a boutique Estate Planning and Elder Law firm assisting residents in Tennessee and Kentucky. We are dedicated to providing client-centered, professional legal services that are individualized through one-on-one consultations. We delight in empowering our clients and community through education and providing specialized resources. Our integrity-driven team will help you protect your legacy while delivering outstanding quality at a reasonable cost.

Owner, Jake Mason, J.D., LL.M. (Elder Law & Estate Planning), EPLS, is board-certified in Estate Planning and Probate, accredited by the United States Department of Veterans Affairs, and licensed in Kentucky and Tennessee. Contact us to schedule a consultation at (615) 989-7054 or

Your Legacy Is Our Priority™

Heritage Law Group, PLLC

1526 Hunt Club Boulevard, Suite 550

Gallatin, Tennessee 37066

Phone: (615) 989-7054

Fax: (615) 751-5208

Monday-Friday, 8:00AM-4:30PM

Visiting this site does not create an attorney-client relationship with Heritage Law Group, PLLC. Tennessee law requires notification that this is an advertisement and this website is not intended to provide legal advice. If you are seeking legal advice, you must seek it by speaking directly to a licensed attorney. While our firm welcomes feedback, we cannot accept a new legal matter without making sure there is no conflict of interest with other client matters in which we are already involved and there is no other conflict of interest that might prevent us from representing you. Unless otherwise noted, all Heritage Law Group, PLLC attorneys are generally licensed to practice law in the State of Tennessee. Attorney Jacob Mason is also licensed to practice law in the State of Kentucky. Every situation is unique and you should not act on information contained in this website without seeking advice from a legal professional specific to your particular situation. 

  • Grey Facebook Icon
  • Grey Twitter Icon
  • Grey YouTube Icon
  • Grey LinkedIn Icon
  • Pinterest

© 2020 Heritage Law Group, PLLC. All Rights Reserved.