News

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 »

CLE Estate Planning & Probate Forum 2018

Join your colleagues from across the state at the annual Estate Planning & Probate Forum. On Feb. 23, speakers will address family law issues, IRA planning and best practices, Medicare benefits and our annual legislative update. The popular probate panel returns with Chancellor Jeffrey Atherton, Judge Kathleen Gomes and attorneys Matthew Thorton and Jennifer Exum to offer guidance and answer questions. 
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. 

Highlights

  • 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 »

Glen Campbell’s Publicist Subpoenaed in Dispute Over Will

The publicist of late singer/songwriter Glen Campbell has been subpoenaed to testify in a fight over Campbell’s competence when he signed a now disputed will, The Tennessean reports. Sanford Brokaw, who publicly disclosed Campbell’s death from Alzheimer’s disease last year, must appear in Davidson County Probate Court on Feb. 20. Three of the singer’s children who were cut out of his $50 million estate are challenging a 2006 will filed by his widow.
read more »

Manson Grandson Ramps Up Fight for Serial Killer’s Remains, Estate

A legal battle is heating up over the estate of serial killer Charles Manson, who died from acute cardiac arrest complicated by a battle with colon cancer on Nov. 29. He allegedly has two wills, each leaving his estate to a different person. Jason Freeman, the grandson of Manson, filed documents with the Los Angeles County probate court on Jan. 12, seeking control of his grandfather’s estate, further complicating the dispute. While the value of Manson’s estate is unknown, he has written songs recorded by musicians such as the Beach Boys, and received royalties from a clothing company for a t-shirt bearing his likeness. A venue for the case has yet to be determined, but on Jan. 26, a judge will decide on the proper venue for the next court hearing.
read more »

Charles Manson’s Grandson Ramps Up Fight for Serial Killer’s Remains, Estate

Almost two months after his death, the legal battle for the estate of Charles Manson continues. Manson, who died from acute cardiac arrest complicated by a battle with colon cancer on Nov. 29, 2017, allegedly has two wills, each leaving his estate to a different person. Jason Freeman, the son of the late Charles Manson Jr. and the grandson of Manson and his first wife, Rosalie Willis, filed documents with the Los Angeles County probate court on Jan. 12, seeking control of his grandfather’s estate, further complicating the dispute.
 
While the value of Manson’s estate is unknown, he has written songs recorded by big-name musicians such as the Beach Boys and Guns N’ Roses. Manson also received royalties from a clothing company for a t-shirt bearing his likeness. It might take a few weeks for a judge to decide who will control Manson’s estate, as a venue for the case has yet to be determined. On Jan. 26, a judge will decide on the proper venue for the next court hearing.
 
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 »

Elder Law: Estate Planning, Wills and Relevant Tax Implications

In this online video, Cynthia Tobin and John Burns will discuss basic estate planning and federal gift tax considerations.
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 »

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 jexum@chamblisslaw.com.
 
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 esther@globalipam.com

read more »

Bradley County Lawsuit Aims to Stop All Marriage Licenses

Special Judge Mike Pemberton of Roane County heard arguments yesterday in a case that seeks to stop Bradley County from issuing marriage licenses and have the state’s marriage license law declared invalid, the Times Free Press reports. The lawsuit, filed by a pastor and county commissioner, claims that the June 2015 Obergefell decision invalidates Tennessee law that says state marriage licenses can only be issued to a man and a woman. A tentative trial date for the case has been set for Feb. 20-22.
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 »

December Issue Covers Pirates, Trusts, Banks and Shopping for Toys

Glasby's Fortune by Brentwood lawyer James H. Drescher, a novel about a pirate, is reviewed by the Tennessee Bar Journal's resident "pirate law scholar" Russell Fowler in the December issue. Columnist Eddy R. Smith asks if most trusts should last indefinitely, and Kathryn Reed Edge explains the phases of banking law: good economic times, recessionary times ... and "wedding season." Humor columnist Bill Haltom reminisces over Christmases Past. The bankruptcy of Toys 'R' Us has him feeling guilty for not shopping there anymore now that his kids are grown.

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 »

Estate Planning 101 and 102

Get the basics in estate planning for Tennessee lawyers. Learn what should be in the estate plan, confidentiality and capacity. Attorneys Angelia Nystrom and Victoria Tillman provide pointers on planning documents and strategies. Register for Estate Planning 101 here and Estate Planning 102 here.
read more »

CLE Webcast Estate Planning Series

A webcast presentation by Angelia Nystrom and Victoria Tillman will provide attorneys with a fundamental understanding of estate planning and probate in Tennessee. The sessions will include an overview of basic estate planning documents and strategies, including advance directives, wills, revocable living trusts, communication, confidentiality and much more. See details on the Estate Planning 101 and Estate Planning 102 sessions.

read more »

Volunteers Needed For Wills For Heroes Clinic in Huntsville

The TBA Young Lawyers Division is seeking attorneys to volunteer at a Wills for Heroes legal clinic from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Scott County Justice Center in Huntsville on Sept. 22. The clinic will provide free wills, powers of attorney and advance directives for Tennessee’s firefighters, law enforcement officers and other emergency responders. Please contact TBA YLD District 2 Representative Amanda Howard for more information or to volunteer.

read more »

Volunteers Needed for Wills For Heroes Clinic

Huntsville Wills for Heroes Clinic

When: Friday, September 22 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Where: Scott County Justice Center, 535 Scott High Drive, Huntsville, TN 37756

WE NEED YOU to assist us with drafting basic estate planning documents for our first responders, serving as witnesses to the documents, and/or notarizing the documents! Volunteers are needed from 9 a.m. until 3 p.m.

Some of you may also be notaries. If you are a notary, we would love if you could bring your notary supplies with you as we may need you to serve in dual capacities!

Please let us know if you are able to volunteer. Thank you again for your service. We certainly could not do this without you! If you have any questions or would like to volunteer, please contact TBA YLD District 2 Representative Amanda Howard at AHoward@RomerLane.com.

 

read more »

ABA Retirement Funds to Host Informational Webinar

The ABA Retirement Funds Program is hosting a free informational webinar called "The Role of Self-Directed Brokerage Accounts within Employer-Sponsored Retirement Plans" on Aug. 22. Find out more information and register here.
read more »

August Columns Laser in On Technologies

Don't miss the columns this month in the August Journal, offering various takes on new technologies. Knoxville lawyer Eddy Smith explains how to plan for and administer digital assets in the estate planning process. Nashville lawyer Kathryn Reed Edge explains "fintech" companies -- firms "that use new technology and innovation with available resources in order to compete in the marketplace of traditional financial institutions and intermediaries in the delivery of financial services." If your head is not spinning after that, read Memphis lawyer Bill Haltom's take on a lawsuit where at issue is laser sensor technology used in driverless cars. The suit is between Google and Uber and it's "shaping up to be a huge legal battle. And there is no one in the driver’s seat."

read more »

15-Hour Annual Review CLE Set for Knoxville

On Aug. 25, a special Tennessee Bar Association CLE will provide 15 hours of combined live and online continuing legal education. Attend for seven live hours and receive an additional eight online credits to complete at your convenience. Topics for the live portion include cyber security, real estate, unemployment compensation, probate and more.

read more »

Knox County Lawyer Suspended

The Tennessee Supreme Court today suspended Knox County lawyer James Lester Kennedy from the practice of law for one year. Kennedy served as the executor of an estate that was opened in 1987. In 2009, the beneficiaries discovered that the estate had not been closed, that Kennedy had ignored repeated orders by the Court to appear and settle, and in 2000, the Court had retired the case due to inactivity. Kennedy was  found in contempt and the Court removed him as executor.   
read more »

Item of Interest

Below is an article that was published in the the Disability Section Connect. We thought it had information that would be of interest to those of you in this section as well.  

read more »