​Community Chest Update; SCA Speaker Unpacks Estate Planning

by Leslie Lytle, Messenger Staff Writer
The Community Chest has reached 89 percent of its goal, announced Sewanee Civic Association (SCA) Vice President Brandon Barry at the April 4 dinner meeting. The campaign continues through April 15. There’s still time to make a donation. Visit www.sewaneecivic.org or mail contributions to P.O. Box 99, Sewanee, TN.
In addition to honoring awardees at the meeting, the SCA elected officers for the coming year: Brandon Barry, president; Jade Barry, vice president; Jesse Bornemann, secretary; Erin Kunz, treasurer; and Stephen Burnett, member at large.
Special recognition went to treasurer Diane Fielding. Fielding is stepping down after five years of service.
The SCA also approved the 2019-2020 budget which covers event sponsorship, insurance, the annual audit, expenses related to Sewanee Classifieds, the subscription based online community bulletin board sponsored by the SCA, and meeting expenses.
April’s speaker, attorney Ryan Barry, provided members and guests with a primer on estate planning basics.
“The three components of estate planning are incapacity documents, testamentary documents, and documents defining how ownership plays into the testamentary piece,” Barry said.
Incapacity documents delineate financial and health care power of attorney, who will make decisions if a person is incapacitated. Living wills and advance care directives stipulate what kinds of medical treatment a person does or does not want and are often included in the health care POA, Barry explained. He recommended assigning POA authority when creating the document rather than waiting until an emergency occurs—“Declaring someone incapacitated takes one or two doctors and can be time consuming. If you don’t trust someone to take care of you when you’re competent, you shouldn’t trust them when you’re incompetent.”
Testamentary Documents are a person’s last will and testament or an irrevocable trust. These documents designate who carries out a person’s wishes, the executor or trustee; and where the person’s assets are to go.
Documents explicating ownership resolve possible questions that might arise in carrying out a person’s testamentary documents. For example, if a will stipulates assets are to be divided equally among all heirs, but one heir is named jointly on an account of the deceased, that heir would automatically become sole owner of the account, removing those sums from the assets to be divided. Confusion and hard feelings can be avoided by making everything clear beforehand.
Barry cautioned against not having a will. “The state of Tennessee has a will for you if you don’t have your own,” Barry said. By the state’s rules, a spouse receives only a minor child’s share, which could make it difficult for him or her to continue to raise the children on their own. Also, with no will, a person’s estate can be divided among distant relatives the deceased never met.
“In estate planning, each situation is unique,” Barry stressed. “There is no one-size-fits-all.”