Succession Planning for Your Law Firm or Practice

Attorney Timothy Takacs will present a special CLE on succession planning for your law firm or law practice on March 27 in Nashville. Additional topics will include law practice management, best practices, client communication and life planning. Attendees will learn how to develop their own plan using a planning toolkit for lawyers. 
read more »

Powers of Attorney 2.0 Online CLE

In this online video, attorney Barbara Moss will talk about financial powers of attorney. She will also discuss the durable power of attorney act, appointment of conservator, effects of death, disability or incapacity, and gifting.

read more »

Powers of Attorney 2.0 Online CLE

In this online video, attorney Barbara Moss will talk about financial powers of attorney. She will also discuss the durable power of attorney act, appointment of conservator, effects of death, disability or incapacity, and gifting. 
read more »

Children of Legendary Entertainers Push Elder Abuse Legislation

The children of Casey Kasem, Mickey Rooney and Glen Campbell were joined by supporters to address the Michigan Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday, promoting legislation protecting rights of adult children aimed at preventing elder abuse according to The Detroit News. Kerri Kasem, Kelly Rooney and Travis Campbell advised the committee on the stories surrounding the final years of their parents' lives and how this legislation might have prevented the abuse and exploitation they suffered.
Kerri Kasem was involved in several contentious court battles against her stepmother, Jean Thompson Kasem, for the right to see her father, the "American Top 40" host who died in 2014 of complications of Lewy Body Dementia. Since the death of her father, Kasem has made it a priority to guarantee that family members can visit ill or incompetent relatives through measures such as those being considered in Michigan. "What it would allow the judge to do is to just rule on visitation. It would put the burden of proof on the caretaker," said Kasem. "If they're not allowing visitation, they have to prove why instead of hearsay."
Travis Campbell said he was limited in his ability to see his father when the musician began experiencing his decline into Alzheimer's disease. Campbell had concerns about his father's health due to the 151 shows the musician was made to perform over three years, even though the entertainer felt he could not perform that many concerts. Travis was instrumental in getting lawmakers in Tennessee to pass the "Falk Act" in 2016. He said toward the end of his father's life, he was only allowed to see him for four hours twice a month. "(The bill) is not just for us, it's for everybody," said Campbell.
Kelly Rooney describes her isolation from her father as "slow ... gradual." Rooney maintains that her father had complained of emotional and other forms of abuse prior to his death in 2014. She became emotional when speaking about not seeing her dad for nearly two years before he died. "They withheld medication and withheld food from him," Rooney said of her father's caretakers.
The group, along with the Kasem Cares Foundation, plan to continue the mission in hopes that more states adopt similar legislation to protect vulnerable seniors.
read more »

The Protest Movement as a Tool for Social Change: Fifty Years Post-King

The Ben F. Jones Chapter of the National Bar Association presents a dynamic day of programming in recognition of 50th anniversary of the death of Dr. Martin Luther King in Memphis. This program explores the protest that brought Dr. King to Memphis in 1968 and the legacy that his untimely death has left on the fabric of the city. The event will focus on the protest movement in its current state as well as provide updated information on the law surrounding assembly, protest and municipal responsibility.
The program features local historical figures who worked with Dr. King, representatives of the media, City of Memphis, local activists, attorneys and judges.
Speakers and producers include:
  • Barbara Arnwine, Esq., CEO and Founder of the Transformative Justice Coalition, Washington, D.C. 
  • Judge Earnestine Hunt Dorse, Municipal Court Judge, Memphis
  • Bill Cody, Burch, Porter and Johnson, Memphis
  • Earle Schwartz, Memphis Bar Association President, Memphis
  • Judge Bernice Bouie Donald, United States Circuit Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, Memphis
When: Feb. 23, 9 a.m. CST
Where: Fogleman Business Center, First Floor Amphitheater, 330 Innovation Dr., Memphis, Tennessee 38152
Contact Florence Johnson by email or call her at 901-725-7520 for more information.
read more »

TBA Gears Up for 2018 Mock Trial Tournament

The Tennessee Bar Association will host the upcoming Tennessee High School Mock Trial Tournament on March 23 and 24 in Nashville. The Mock Trial is a two-day, single-elimination bracket-style competition where 16 high schools face-off against each other in the Davidson County Courthouse. Each team is scored on their trial preparation and skills. 

We need TBA volunteers to help be bailiffs and jurors (scorers) for the event. After signing up, we will send you a Volunteer Memo with all the information you need for competition including; parking, hotel, downtown map, courthouse rules, and reimbursement information. Come be a part of the Young Lawyers Divisions’ March Madness! Feel free to contact YLD Director Stephanie Vonnahme with any questions.

To volunteer for this event, click here.

read more »

Lawsuit Claims Memphis Nursing Home Drugged Patients

A lawsuit unsealed in federal court claims that a Memphis nursing home gave heavy anti-psychotic drugs to residents to keep them “docile,” The Commercial Appeal reports. The complaint was filed against Raleigh-based Spring Gate Rehabilitation and Healthcare Center, alleging Medicaid and Medicare fraud, claims that the company prescribed the drugs “despite the fact that there was never a medically accepted indication justifying such heavy-duty medication.” Now the company must pay a $500,000 settlement and has entered into an agreement with the Department of Health and Human Services to prevent such conduct in the future.
read more »

Advanced Elder Law Online CLEs

Catch up on elder law rules, laws and practice points in this CLE package. Topics include estate planning, nursing home law developments, special needs trusts and legislative updates.
read more »

New TBJ: Adverse Legal Authority, #MeToo, a Lewie Donelson Tribute and More

The February Tennessee Bar Journal has a lot packed into it, including an article by Nashville lawyer David Hudson Jr. about the duty to disclose adverse legal authority. Chattanooga lawyer Russell Fowler details the life of Tennessee lawyer and American President James K. Polk and Knoxville lawyers Edward Phillips and Brandon Morrow take an employment law look at the Faragher-Ellerth framework in the #MeToo Era. Learn from Knoxville lawyer Monica Franklin what it takes to be an elder law attorney, read a book review by Jackson attorney Mary Jo Middlebrooks of The Fight to Vote, as well as a touching tribute to Lewie Donelson, by Memphis lawyer Bill Haltom.

read more »

Access to Justice Commission Seeking Feedback

The Tennessee Supreme Court’s Access to Justice Commission is seeking input from the legal community to help in planning efforts as it develops a new strategic plan in March. A brief survey is available for all who wish to share thoughts and feedback. The survey will remain open through Feb. 7. Please contact Anne-Louise Wirthlin at the Administrative Office of the Courts with questions or for more information. 

read more »

Estate Planning & Probate Forum Happy Hour

Join us for a happy hour immediately following the Estate Planning & Probate Forum on Feb. 23. Don't miss this opportunity to unwind while you mix and mingle with attorneys and professionals of a similar focus. Attendance at the forum is not required to attend the happy hour. TBA Estate Planning & Probate Section members will receive a drink on us! Stay tuned for more info.
When: Friday, Feb. 23, 4 p.m., CST
Where: Embassy Suites Hotel, 820 Crescent Center Dr., Franklin, TN 37067
read more »

Meet Your Section Chair

James (Jay) Barry is this year's chair of the Tennessee Bar Association's Elder Law Section. He is the owner and founder of Elder Law of Middle Tennessee. His legal practice areas include life care planning, estate planning including, trusts, Medicaid, veteran's benefits and probate.  
Prior to the development of Elder Law of Middle Tennessee, Barry worked in trademark and intellectual property law, as well as mediation. Through these experiences, he was able to use his specific attention to detail to draw upon when analyzing his client's needs.
His background is quite varied and includes not only being an attorney but also a commercial airline pilot with American Airlines for more than 24 years, entrepreneur, U. S. Air Force instructor pilot, aerospace engineer, and Air Force Reserve Lt. Colonel with the Defense Intelligence Agency.
Barry holds degrees from the University of Tennessee, Trinity University and Pepperdine School of Law. He can be reached by email or by phone at 615-444-3568.
read more »

Glen Campbell's Longtime Publicist Subpoenaed Regarding Contested Will

The longtime publicist of Glen Campbell, who passed away from Alzheimer's Disease last year, has been subpoenaed to testify regarding the late singer's competence when he signed a now-disputed will, according to The Tennessean.

Records in Davidson County Probate Court show a subpoena has been issued for Sanford Brokaw to appear for testimony in Nashville on Feb. 20. The subpoena calls on Brokaw to "provide proof of the decedent's capacity since 2002” and submit "all communications regarding the estate of the decedent."

The contention is regarding the exclusion of three of Campbell's children, who have been cut out of his estimated $50 million estate, according to a 13-page will filed by his widow in 2006, Rolling Stone reported. The will states that he was "specifically excluding" the three children from receiving anything under the will or a related trust, and names his wife, Kim, as executor. Court records indicate there was an earlier version of Campbell's will, dated in 2002.

This was not the first interfamilial feud, as Campbell’s eldest daughter Debby and son Travis previously won a legal victory after claiming that Kim Campbell was denying them the right to visit their father during his illness. Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam subsequently signed a bill into law called the Campbell / Falk Act, which allows family members and close friends of a person with Alzheimer’s disease, dementia or other disabilities to visit a loved one in person, or maintain contact with them by phone, email or mail, despite the stated wishes of a legally appointed conservator.

Campbell was first diagnosed with the Alzheimer’s in 2011 and died in August 2017. A Netflix film, "I’ll Be Me", details his diagnosis, final tour and his farewell to fans.

read more »

Congress Delays 'Cadillac Tax' and Other ACA-Related Taxes and Fees

Congress on Monday passed the Federal Register Printing Savings Act, which temporarily continued funding federal government activity and appropriated funds to various health-related programs such as the Children's Health Insurance Program, Medicaid and childhood obesity programs.
The Act also addressed the effective date for the controversial 40 percent excise tax on high-cost health care, commonly referred to as the "Cadillac Tax," which has been delayed until 2022. At a minimum, the new two-year delay gives employers and plan sponsors more time to adjust health plan design to avoid the Cadillac Tax, legislation that has been unpopular on both sides of the aisle.
The Cadillac tax was created as part of the Affordable Care Act largely to help fund benefits to the uninsured under the law. The U.S. Joint Committee on Taxation estimates that delaying the medical device tax will lower revenue by $3.8 billion over a decade, delaying the Cadillac tax will cost $14.8 billion and suspending the health insurance tax will cost $12.7 billion.
read more »

Don't Forget: Winter CLE Blast Tomorrow!

Need CLE hours fast? We can help! The annual Winter CLE Blast is less than a day away. With this program, you can complete up to 11 hours of Dual CLE credit on your own time. Our registration desk will be open from 7 a.m. to 6:45 p.m. on Feb. 21, providing you the flexibility to create your own schedule and take as many or as few hours as you need. Payment will be determined at checkout depending on the number of hours you attend. 


  • Flexible to your schedule
  • Up to 11 Hours of CLE
  • Ethics Credits
  • Compliance CLE
  • Live Credit Hours

When: Feb. 21, registration begins at 7 a.m., CST

Where: Tennessee Bar Center, 221 4th Ave N., Nashville, TN 37219


read more »

Don't Forget– Estate Planning & Probate Forum 2018 This Friday!

The Tennessee Bar Association will host the 2018 Estate Planning & Probate Forum at the Embassy Suites in Franklin on Friday. This event provides six hours of CLE, including an hour of dual credit, and will be focused on timely, relevant topics to help you stay on top of trends affecting this area of law. Legislative updates and the ever-popular Probate Panel will ensure that you leave with the knowledge necessary to advance your practice.
Do not miss this opportunity to fulfill CLE requirements while networking with attorneys who share your focus and cultivating relationships with fellow practitioners. Section members receive a discounted rate for the program. Here's the key info: 
When: Feb. 23, 2018; registration begins at 8 a.m., CDT
Where: Embassy Suites Hotel, 820 Crescent Center Dr., Franklin, TN 37067
Topics include:
  • Family Law Issues
  • IRA Planning and Best Practices
  • Medicare Benefits
  • Legislative Updates
  • Probate Panel
Speakers/Producers include:
  • Jennifer Exum, Chambliss, Bahner & Stophel PC, Chattanooga 
  • Jeffrey Atherton, Chancery Court, Chattanooga
  • Newman Bankston, Egerton, McAfee, Armistead & Davis, Knoxville 
  • Frank Cardenas, FEDlogic LLC, Nashville 
  • Donald Farinato, Hodges, Doughty & Carson PLLC, Knoxville 
  • Sandra Garrett, The Board of Professional Responsibility, Brentwood 
  • Kathleen Gomes, Probate Court of Shelby County-Division One, Memphis
  • David Parsons, Attorney At Law, Nashville 
  • Joel Roettger, Gentry, Tipton & McLemore, Knoxville 
  • Stacy Roettger, The Trust Company of Knoxville
  • Albert Secor, Southeastern Trust Company, Chattanooga

read more »

Write it Up: TBJ Fiction Contest is Now Open

The Tennessee Bar Journal's Second Annual Fiction Contest is underway! We know that in your real job you don't get to make stuff up, so now is your chance to be loose with the facts and write wildly creatively. Send your fiction in by March 12 to be considered. The winning entry will be published in the June 2018 issue of the Journal, and the author will receive a $100 gift card from a favorite independent bookstore.

read more »

Nashville DA’s Office Focusing on Elder Abuse

Nashville’s District Attorney General has appointed a prosecutor to focus exclusively on crimes against elderly people, The Tennessean reports. DA Glenn Funk has asked Assistant District Attorney Ardie Griffin to assume the role. "With diminished cognitive and physical skills, (elderly people) are prime targets for financial exploitation. Physical and sexual abuse are also disturbingly frequent," Funk said. Griffin said she was shocked by the sheer volume of elder abuse complaints in Davidson County, and the numbers are expected to grow in coming years as baby boomers age into retirement.
read more »

Legislative Updates Affecting Probate in Tennessee

Every year, some changes in the law come with the fanfare, bells and whistles of a Las Vegas jackpot win, such as no inheritance tax or no gift tax. Other revisions to the law are less obvious, but a closer look reveals the treasures to be found in their simplicity and substance. The major legislative changes that went into effect July 1, 2017, surrounding probate are of this sort, less glitz but still noteworthy. 
The Tennessee 110th General Assembly enacted SB 769, a bill that revises certain provisions of the probate code related to estate administration. These revisions impose additional responsibilities on the estate's personal representative for the protection and benefit of the beneficiaries. Here are a few of the hidden gems that may affect your estate or a loved one's:
No Hands in the Cookie Jar 
Take the case where a personal representative (an executor or administrator) files a claim against the estate for payment of a debt owed to him or her by the decedent. In the past, the notice of the filing was sent by the probate clerk only to the personal representative and his or her attorney. Now, the personal representative seeking payment must provide the probate clerk with the names and current mailing addresses of all residuary beneficiaries of the estate (whose interests will likely be diminished if the claim were awarded) so they can be notified by the clerk within five days of the filing and given the opportunity to protect their interests. [T.C.A. 30-2-313]
Crime (Still) Doesn't Pay 
The prior version of the "Slayer Statute" prohibited a person from inheriting from an individual that person killed, unless it was an accident or self-defense. The new version, a much more robust and detailed statute, now requires, among other things: the killer has to give up all benefits of the decedent's estate; it revokes any beneficiary designations for the killer and it eliminates any interest the killer has in real estate as a joint tenant with the decedent. [T.C.A. 31-1-106]
Who's Your Daddy? 
To inherit from a decedent, a child born out of wedlock must establish his or her paternity at the earlier of four months from the first publication of the notice to creditors, or one year from the father's date of death. In the case of an amorous decedent, the personal representative can now send a copy of the notice to creditors published in the local newspaper to any purported child and limit the time that child has to establish his or her parent/child relationship with the decedent. If the representative fears that children will come "out of the woodwork" after a decedent's death, this amendment provides a shortened timeframe in which a purported child must establish paternity, which is a blessing to an estate administration that could otherwise be drawn out in costly litigation. [T.C.A. 31-2-105]
Signin' My Life Away 
Each recipient of a specific bequest under a decedent's will must sign a receipt that is required to be filed with the probate court by the personal representative in order to close an estate administration. A seemingly innocuous revision now provides that these receipts must be notarized under penalty of perjury or otherwise sworn, where the prior version of the statute only required signatures on receipts for filing with the Court. This is to ensure that the intended recipient of a gift under a will actually receive the gift, although it could be an inconvenience to some beneficiaries. [T.C.A. 30-2-601]
No Hostages  
Although the Legislature now requires receipts to be notarized or otherwise sworn (see above), they also realize that some beneficiaries simply will not follow directions. In those cases, the personal representative is allowed to close an estate administration if he or she can show to the Court's satisfaction that diligent efforts have been made to obtain the required acknowledgment from a beneficiary. If the other beneficiaries agree, the estate will not be held hostage by the one recalcitrant beneficiary. [T.C.A. 30-2-601]
Jennifer Kent Exum is the section chair of the Tennessee Bar Association's Estate Planning and Probate Section. Exum is Of Counsel at Chambliss and has practiced law for nearly a decade, primarily in the areas of estate administration, estate planning, conservatorships, tax, estate-related litigation and general civil litigation. She holds degrees from Northwestern University and the University of Tennessee College of Law. Exum can be contacted at 423-757-0297 or
read more »

Call for Mentors

Tennessee elder law attorneys:
From time to time, we have new attorneys that would like to begin their legal careers in elder law. The Elder Law Section would like to assist these individuals in learning the practice of elder law in Tennessee by encouraging its members to become mentors through the Tennessee Bar Association’s Mentoring Program. Most of us have enjoyed someone helping us with this in the past as we learned the ins and outs of this challenging area. Becoming a mentor helps to address certain obstacles while fostering mutually beneficial relationships and reducing the isolation experienced by some beginning lawyers, to generally benefit the legal profession as a whole.  
If you are interested, you can sign up to become a mentor here or apply to become a mentee here.
Section Chair
TBA Elder Law Section
read more »

Considering Pet Trusts

Estate planning is a complex, nuanced process, so great care must be taken in dealing with the many critical decisions involved. An often-overlooked aspect of this process is considering care for a pet in the event of the grantor’s disability or death. As animals almost completely rely on a caretaker for their basic needs, this is a truly important designation. 
Pet ownership helps aging humans maintain an active lifestyle and overcome feelings of loneliness and depression. Including a pet trust in one’s estate plan allows persons at every stage of life to enjoy the benefits of pet ownership while overcoming the concern many caring pet owners express, “but what if something happens to me?  Who will care for my pet then?” A pet trust can answer these questions and help assure quality care for the lifespan of the pet.
Animals with especially long lifespans, such as horses (average lifespan of 30 years), birds (15-60 years, depending on species), tortoises (40-100 years, depending on species), and certain other reptiles (tuataras – a type of lizard native to New Zealand –  can live more than 100 years), can benefit from having an estate plan in place that includes care of these animals.
When constructing a pet trust, it is important to provide funding for the long-term care of the pet. It can be wise to designate a trustee to oversee the trust funds designated for the care of the pet and a different person to serve as caretaker of the animal. In this way, sufficient checks and balances may be put in place so that adequate care of the animal is assured and the possibility of malfeasance is minimized.
A pet trust may be an appropriate estate planning device in any number of situations, from elderly folks with one lap pet to large animal owners who want to provide long-term care. By keeping these arrangements in mind, we can better serve our clients and the animals that depend on them.
Esther L. Roberts is an East Tennessee Delegate of the executive council and served as inaugural chair for the Tennessee Bar Association's Animal Law Section. Roberts is the CEO of Global IP, a law firm specializing in intellectual property and IP mediation and founder of Tennessee Pet Trusts. She holds degrees from Lipscomb University and the University of Tennessee College of Law. Roberts can be contacted at 865-607-9780 or

read more »

Court Clarifies Law on Ownership of Funds Withdrawn from Joint Account

The Tennessee Supreme Court has unanimously ruled that, when one spouse unilaterally withdraws money from a married couple’s joint bank account and places it in a certificate of deposit, the money is no longer joint property and belongs to the spouse to whom the certificate of deposit was issued. The opinion in In Re Estate of Calvert Hugh Fletcher was authored by Justice Sharon G. Lee.

read more »

Tennessee Supreme Court Clarifies Standards for Contesting a Will

The Tennessee Supreme Court reversed previous rulings that dismissed a lawsuit contesting the will of a Hamilton County man who died in 2015. In a 2013 will the deceased, Dr. J. Don Brock, left behind a sizeable estate to his wife, two stepdaughters and two children from a previous marriage, but excluded five children from the previous marriage. The Supreme Court declined to adopt a broad rule precluding persons disinherited by successive wills from ever bringing a will contest. Instead, the court ruled that parties may establish standing to contest a will by showing that they would be entitled to share in the decedent’s estate if the challenged will, or challenged wills, were set aside or no will existed and the laws of intestacy applied. Justice Cornelia A. Clark authored the court's unanimous opinion.

read more »

CLE on Special Needs Trusts Planned for Nov. 16

A new CLE on Special Needs Trusts will be held Nov. 16 at the Tennessee Bar Center in Nashville. This program will navigate through the tax code to maximize advantages for Qualified Disability Trusts and discuss ethical considerations of using a trust to qualify for Medicaid. There are many duties and ethical considerations associated with serving as a trustee – learn about these issues in this specialized program. 
read more »

Knoxville Lawyer Named Federal Administrative Law Judge

Knoxville attorney Benjamin Burton has been selected to serve as an administrative law judge with the Social Security Administration. He will serve at the Office of Disability Adjudication and Review in St. Louis. Burton worked for the Social Security Administration prior to entering private practice and is one of only 61 Board Certified Social Security Trial Specialists nationwide.
read more »