Estate

Handwritten Wills by Aretha Franklin Throw Estate Into a Turmoil

Recently uncovered documents have reignited tensions regarding the estate of Aretha Franklin, The New York Times reports. The singer died last August supposedly without a will, but several holographic wills were found this month inside a locked cabinet and under sofa cushions in the late singer’s home. Without designation Franklin’s assets, under Michigan law, would be divided equally amongst her four sons. The newly found forms upend this assumption, replacing the executor and drastically altering the inheritance each son would receive — with one removing a son from the estate entirely. The papers last week were submitted to a probate judge who will decide if they qualify as valid wills.

read more »

3 Common Estate Plan Problems

The interplay between estates and taxes is a nuanced and complex one, creating a minefield of supposable missteps. A recent article in Forbes looks at three common issues for planners to be aware of when assisting clients, along with tips to incorporate into your practice.

read more »

Healthy Dog Euthanized in Accordance With Will

A healthy dog in Virginia was euthanized to be buried with its owner in accordance with the woman’s will, NBC News reports. The dog was held by a local animal shelter until being turned over to the estate executor who carried out the decedent’s wishes with the help of a veterinarian. It was determined that the veterinarian broke no laws; however, it is not known whether the pet was laid to rest with the owner as Virginia state law prohibits interment of humans and pets at for-profit cemeteries and most private cemeteries typically oppose such requests.

read more »

Some Gold Star Families See Tax Increase on Survivor Benefits

After the Tax Cut and Jobs Act of 2017, some Gold Star families saw taxes on their survivor benefits more than double, CNN reports. Under the law, children of deceased service members that were previously taxed at the parents’ rate now fall into a new tax bracket known as the “Kiddie Tax,” which has a rate of 37 percent. According to the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors, a nonprofit that assists the families of fallen soldiers, the bracket is to prevent wealthy families from hiding money in their children's names by taxing 'unearned income' and is intended as a trust and estate tax.

read more »

Battle for Prince's Estate Has No End in Sight

The fight surrounding the estate of late musician, Prince, is still making its way through the courts three years after the rock icon’s death, Forbes reports. The artist died without a will, sparking a heated battle between family members over the estimated $200 million estate, which to date has reportedly spent around $45 million in administrative costs and legal fees. You can view the case history using this link.

read more »

Executor of Sedley Alley's Estate Says She Has the Right to Review Crime Scene Evidence

The daughter of Sedley Alley, who was convicted of raping and killing Lance Corporal Suzanne Collins in 1985 and ultimately executed for the crime, yesterday asked a judge in Memphis to allow review of evidence from the murder scene to provide closure on the crime once and for all, The New York Times reports. April Alley maintains that as executor of her father’s estate she is entitled to continue the pursuit of justice and asks that preserved evidence found at the scene — including the victim’s underwear, a pair of red briefs apparently worn by the attacker and a 31-inch tree branch — be tested for DNA and matched against her father’s that was harvested when he was still alive. Alley was initially denied review of the evidence for DNA material, a request prosecutors claimed was a stalling maneuver; however, five years after his execution, the Tennessee Supreme Court concluded the lower court’s denial was errant. 

read more »

Memphis Proposes Incentives to Keep Graceland

Memphis has proposed incentives to keep Graceland in town after news that the home might be moved to another location, Slate.com reports. Though city officials asked said there were no plans to move one of the world’s most famous properties, a Wall Street Journal article on Sunday detailed considerations by the the Presley estate and corporation that runs Graceland to move the house to Nashville, Japan, China, or wherever else has the highest bidder. To keep Graceland around, Memphis will to give it a bigger cut of city and county property and sales tax revenues for an expansion project and feature between $194 million and $269 million in reduced taxes for stakeholders. This is not the first spat between the parties, with the conglomerate suing the city three times regarding construction of an arena on the property that would be funded by taxpayers.

read more »

Tom Petty's Estate in a Free Fall

The widow of Tom Petty and two of his daughters from a previous marriage are ensnared in a battle over the late rocker’s estate, the Los Angeles Times reports. Trustee Dana Petty claims that the daughters are making it difficult to carry out important decisions, requesting the court to appoint a manager tasked with oversight of the estate and require a consensus be made between all parties regarding consequential business. One of the daughters, Adria Petty, has filed her own petition regarding the widow’s failure to incorporate the musician’s “artistic properties” into an LLC that, according to the will, would be divided between the three women. Court documents also allude to solo music recorded by Petty 25 years ago, the release of which has been stymied because of the feud.

read more »

Estate Planning & Probate Forum Packs the House

The TBA Estate Planning & Probate Section presented its annual forum to a packed house at the Embassy Suites in Franklin on Feb. 22. Through the dedication of the section and top-notch programming, this event has become a staple for not only estate planning and probate practitioners, but lawyers of associated practices as well. Thanks to the TBA Estate Planning & Probate Executive Council members for their time and assistance with another remarkable forum. Stay tuned for more exciting events to come from this section, including the second annual Topgolf: Estate Planning Tee-Off on June 19.
 
OFFICERS
Michael Goode, Section Chair, Lewis Thomason, Nashville
Newman Bankston, Vice-Chair, Egerton, McAfee, Armistead & Davis, Knoxville
Jennifer Exum, Immediate Past Chair, Bahner & Stophel, Chattanooga
 
MIDDLE TENNESSEE DELEGATES
David Parsons, Attorney at Law, Nashville
Jeff Carson, Diversified Trust, Nashville
J. Barry, Elder Law of Middle Tennessee, Lebanon
Paul Hayes, Howard Mobley Hayes & Gontarek, Nashville
 
WEST TENNESSEE DELEGATES
Chris Coats, Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell & Berkowitz, Memphis
 
EAST TENNESSEE DELEGATES
Angelia Nystrom, University of Tennessee Foundation, Knoxville
Donald Farinato, Hodges, Doughty & Carson, Knoxville
John Billings, TCV Wealth Management, Knoxville
Victoria Tillman, McKinney & Tillman, Knoxville
 
 
read more »

Actor Luke Perry's Estate in Good Order

Tennessee resident and 90201 actor Luke Perry, who died on March 4 after suffering a stroke, bucked the recent trend of celebrities’ who do not leave a will, Forbes reports. Perry reportedly created a will in 2015, after doctors discovered precancerous growths in a colonoscopy, leaving everything in his estimated $10 million estate to his three children. The news magazine highlights that Perry likely had an Advance Care Directive, otherwise, the decision of his family to terminate life support would have been a public battle in probate court. Perry was laid to rest on March 11 and buried just outside of his farm in Dickson County.

read more »