News

Heritage Law Group to Host Elder Care Expo on May 23

The Heritage Law Group will host the third annual Elder Care Expo on May 23 at Gallatin First United Methodist Church. The program provides older adults with information on healthy aging, dementia, general primary care for seniors and understanding the continuum of care. Attendees will also have the opportunity to meet local exhibitors specializing in senior concerns and enjoy complimentary breakfast and lunch. There is no charge for this event. Here is the key info:

When: Thursday, May 23, Registration at 8 a.m., CDT
Where: Gallatin First United Methodist Church, 149 West Main St., Gallatin
 

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Wife of Warner Bros. Executive Who Suffers from Alzheimers Accused of Elder Abuse

The son of former Warner Bros. chief and Alzheimers sufferer Terry Semel filed a petition in Los Angeles County Superior Court to appoint a temporary conservator for his father, accusing his stepmother of elder abuse, The Los Angeles Times reports. That son, Eric Semel, says that his stepmother is “in serious breach of her fiduciary duties” and “causing serious harm to Terry’s health and safety,” further accusing her of telling his father’s caregivers to change the dosage of his medications, refusing to take him to routine exams, refusing to let him leave the facility and limiting his social interactions, among other claims. The elder Semel is one of the most powerful men in Hollywood and has an estate valued at several hundred million dollars.

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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.

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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.

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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. 

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House, Senate Close to Consensus on Budget

Both chambers in the Tennessee legislature appear to be reaching a consensus on a $38.5 billion budget, including fully funding a Medicaid waiver for disabled children, the Tennessean reports. While the Senate last week proposed funding only a portion of the Katie Beckett waiver program — citing concerns about the House's plan to use revenue from expanded online sales tax collection — a key Senate committee on Monday moved to fully fund the $27 million program through other revenue sources. The Senate has not changed its plans to reduce the professional privilege tax from $400 to $300.
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Volunteers Needed for Thursday Evening Clinic in Franklin

Mercy Health Clinic and Legal Aid Society are partnering to host their monthly Legal Help Clinic at St. Andrew Lutheran Church. The clinic will be Thursday from 5 to 7 p.m. at 908 Murfreesboro Road, Franklin, Tennessee, 37064. All lawyers are invited to help at this advice-only clinic. Plenty of materials will be available to assist volunteers. To volunteer or for more information please contact Jorge Salles Diaz, 615-780-7131.
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5 New Job Postings on TBA’s Joblink

See who is hiring in Tennessee. Recent job postings this month offer opportunities in litigation, real estate, health law and more. See full listings or post positions in your firm on TBA’s Joblink.
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Volunteers Needed to Assist in Review of Legal Handbook for Tennessee Seniors

The TBA Elder Law Section is seeking assistance reviewing an updated edition of the 2019 Legal Handbook for Tennessee Seniors. This resource contains practical information on a wide range of topics, including issues such as applying for Social Security benefits, long-term care considerations and estate planning, as well as completely new sections addressing online security and new health care legislation. Volunteers will aid in reviewing the resource for errors prior to release. If you are able to assist with this important initiative, please email Elder Law Section Coordinator Jarod Word.

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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.

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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.

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Local Government Forum is Thursday; Tour of New Tennessee State Museum Included

Government law is an ever-changing practice area with a unique blend of constitutional, statutory and case laws. This year's Local Government Forum will address intangibles of the practice area, along with topics such as ABC laws, government employment law, legal ethics in a government setting and more. The six-hour forum kicks off at 9 a.m. at the Tennessee Bar Center in Nashville and continues until 4:30 p.m. A networking event will follow at the newly opened Tennessee State Museum, with museum curators offering a staff-guided tour of the facility.

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TBA Leaders in D.C. for Advocacy Campaign

Tennessee Bar Association leaders are  in Washington, D.C., this week for a series of meetings with senators and members of congress. The trip is part of an annual lobbying effort coordinated by the American Bar Association. The TBA delegation will discuss issues of local interest with legislators and advocate for funding of the Legal Services Corporation (LSC) and preserving the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) program.

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RSVP for Reception Following Local Government Forum on April 11

The TBA Local Government Section will host a reception at the newly opened Tennessee State Museum, 1000 Rosa Parks Blvd., following its annual forum on April 11 in Nashville. Attendees of the reception will meet with museum curators and receive a staff-guided tour of the brand-new facility. This event is open to all Local Government Section members and those interested in learning more about the section; forum attendance is not required. Don’t miss out on this unique opportunity to learn Tennessee history while engaging with TBA leadership. You can RSVP for this event here.
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TennCare Block Grant Bill Moving Through House

Legislation that would allow Gov. Bill Lee to negotiate with the federal government to obtain a federal block grant to supplement TennCare sailed through the House Finance, Ways and Means Committee this week, the Tennessean reports. The bills — HB1280/SB1428 — sponsored by Rep. Timothy Hill, R-Blountville, and Sen. Paul Bailey, R-Sparta, would make Tennessee the first state to adopt such a measure. As submitted, the law calls for a lump-sum payment from the federal government, with Tennessee given autonomy to decide how to best apply the funds. Lee has signaled his support for the block grant concept despite concerns that he would block the measure out of opposition to Medicaid expansion in the state. The legislation has been referred to the Calendar & Rules Committee for review.
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Register Now: 31st Annual TBA Health Law Forum

Register now for the 31st Annual TBA Health Law Forum and the 19th Annual Health Law Primer to take place this October in Franklin The must-see, must-do event for Tennessee health law attorneys, this forum features timely topics designed to up your game and keep you on top of trends in the area. Presentations in this year’s program will include: cyber threats in health care, surrogate decision making, updates with TennCare, cloud-based vendor agreements, reps and warranties, legislative updates, antitrust concerns and much more. Don’t sleep on this opportunity to learn from seasoned practitioners while networking with top players in the field. Here are the key details:
 
Health Law Primer (introductory program)
When: Wednesday, Oct. 16
Where: Embassy Suites Hotel, 820 Crescent Centre Drive, Franklin
 
Health Law Forum
When:  Thursday, Oct. 17 – Friday, Oct. 18
Where: Embassy Suites Hotel, 820 Crescent Centre Drive, Franklin
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Registration Now Open for TBA Convention in Nashville, June 12-15

The TBA's annual Convention returns to downtown Nashville this summer! Mark your calendars for June 12-15 and prepare for four days of CLE, networking, entertainment and more at the Renaissance Hotel, 611 Commerce Street. Registration is officially open, with early bird rates available until April 30.
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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
 
 
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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.

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Several Organizations Fight Tennessee Family Over Estate

A Tennessee family‘s estate that has been passed down through six generations has become part of a heated battle between the family and several non-profit organizations, the Tennessean reports. The last heir, Barry Blackburn Sr., died unexpectedly in 2014, with his will specifying that properties be held in a lifetime trust for his son, then passed along to that son’s children. The will also includes a provision that should Blackburn Sr.’s son die before him, the trust would pass to his sister's three children. A failure of beneficiary clause was included stating that if there were no surviving beneficiaries, the estate would be equally divided among Nashville Christian School, Harpeth Presbyterian Church, the University of Mississippi law school and Boykin Spaniel Rescue. Blackburn Sr.’s son, Christopher Blackburn, died the following year at 21, having no children. The nonprofits now argue that the will, read literally, bequeaths property to them since the son died after the father. A Mississippi judge last year sided with nieces and nephew involved, calling the matter a "scrivener's error," however, the organizations have appealed that decision. The properties, including working farms in Mississippi and Alabama and acres of property along Pickwick Lake, are worth millions and were given to the family by President Andrew Jackson.

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LGBT Law Annual Forum 2019

Register now for the TBA LGBT Law Annual Forum to take place on June 21 at the Tennessee Bar Center in Nashville. Timely topics for this year’s program will include laws concerning conversion therapy, an inside look at Vanderbilt’s Clinic for Transgender Health, ethical considerations regarding discrimination and employment law, ending the day with an LGBT community advocacy panel open to the public. The forum will be held in conjunction with the 2019 Nashville Pride Festival, allowing attendees to take advantage of the fun and activities surrounding the celebration. Don’t miss what guarantees to be an insightful forum and one of the nation’s premier Pride festivals! Here’s the key info:
 
When: Friday, June 21, registration begins at 11 a.m., CDT
Where: Tennessee Bar Center, 221 Fourth Ave. N., Nashville
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Federal Judiciary Adopts New Ethics Rules Regarding Harassment, Reporting of Misconduct

New ethics rules adopted by the federal judiciary this week make clear that sexual harassment is banned, and that judges and their employees have a reporting obligation when such conduct happens, The ABA Journal reports. The new rules state that reliable information about judicial misconduct as well as judicial disability must be reported. Unwanted, offensive or abusive sexual misconduct is banned, as is “egregious and hostile” treatment of workers. The rules also bar intentional discrimination on the basis of race, color, sex, gender, gender identity, pregnancy, sexual orientation, religion, national origin, age or disability. Retaliation for reporting misconduct is prohibited. The changes were approved by the Judicial Conference of the United States and take effect immediately.
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Tomorrow: Family Law Forum 2019

Register now for the TBA Family Law Forum 2019. In this program, we will dig deep into recent changes affecting the practice area, including high-profile cases, legislative updates, changes in domestic violence law and best practices in Juvenile Court. We will also have a renowned psychiatrist discussing "The Scientific Basis for Parental Alienation." Don’t miss this opportunity to brush up on the intangibles, develop new tools and meet lawyers of a similar focus. Here are the key details:

When: Wednesday, May 15, Registration begins at 8:30 a.m.
Where: Tennessee Bar Center, 221 Fourth Ave. N., Nashville
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LAS, Belmont Partner to Host Series of Clinics

Legal Aid Society of Middle Tennessee and the Cumberlands has announced a partnership with Belmont University to offer free legal help clinics twice monthly at the Belmont Ministry Center, 2005 12th Avenue South, beginning this weekend. The McHugh Legal Help Clinic at Belmont will take place on the second Saturday of each month, 8:30 to noon, while the Legal Aid Clinic at Belmont will be on the fourth Thursday evening of each month through October, 4:30 to 7 p.m. Volunteer lawyers from the Tennessee Attorney General's office will staff both the clinics, assisted by lawyers in private practice and Belmont College of Law students. Learn more at las.org.
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General-Solo FastTrack 2019

The TBA General-Solo & Small Firm Practitioners Section has selected the dates for its annual favorite FastTrack series held in all three grand divisions. The FastTrack program allows for a 15-hour CLE opportunity, featuring diverse topics designed to be relevant to a wide range of practice areas. Attendees can receive seven hours of live credit at each forum, then enjoy eight prepaid CLE credits to use for any online programming. Stay tuned for more details!
 
When: Aug. 2, Memphis; Aug. 9-10 and Nov. 8, Nashville;  Aug. 23, Knoxville
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