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.

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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.

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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. 
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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.
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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.

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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.

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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


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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.
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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."

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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.

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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.   
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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.  

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Elder Law Forum 2017 This Friday

The Elder Law CLE Forum will be held this Friday at the ATT Building in downtown Nashville. This full-day forum offers essential and practical material for practicing Elder Law attorneys and those interested in Elder Law. Registration is still open, so sign up or get more information now

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July TBJ: Mentors, Annuities and the Challenges of Change

Covington lawyer Amber Griffin Shaw writes about how having a mentor in Houston Gordon made all the difference in her law practice. Read her story — and his advice — in the July Tennessee Bar Journal. Knoxville lawyer Glen A. Kyle writes about planning options for spousal annuities. President Lucian T. Pera writes about the challenges of change – whether it be in the changing of leadership at the helm of the TBA, the need for improvements in indigent defense for Tennessee’s least-privileged citizens, or how lawyers respond to the dramatic changes “facing not just the profession or the business of lawyers, but the whole market for the delivery of legal services.”

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Estate Planning & Probate Section to Meet at TBA Convention

Please make plans to join the TBA Estate Planning & Probate Section for a business meeting that will be held in conjunction with 2017 TBA Convention.  The TBA Estate Planning & Probate Section meeting is scheduled as follows:


Thursday, June 15, 2017
3:00 – 4:00 p.m. Eastern


MeadowView Marriott
1901 Meadowview Parkway
Kingsport, TN 37660
(423) 578-6600

Room Location – Bays Mountain Boardroom

A conference call will be available for those unable to join us in person. The following are the instructions for joining the call:

You will dial in on the following number: 1-855-795-9620

You will then be prompted to enter the following conference ID number, followed by the pound (#) sign: 5722409#

Items for discussion include:

  1. Increasing Executive Council Participation
  2. Ideas for CLE programming and webcasts
  3. What items would you like to see in your inbox?  Getting the most out of your Section Connects.
  4. Pro Bono Opportunities
  5. Networking and Mentoring within the Section
  6. Proposed Legislation and Advocacy

There is still time if you would like to register for TBA Convention. You may register by calling the TBA at (615) 383-7421 or register online at:

2017 TBA Convention

You do not have to be registered for Convention to attend this Section meeting.  We hope to see you there!

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Turn Your Expertise into a Magazine Article

It’s no surprise that some of the best articles in the Tennessee Bar Journal have come from TBA section and Young Lawyers Division members. Your membership in this group shows that you have a keen interest in trends, developments and case law in this practice area. Sharing this knowledge with your colleagues is one of the best traits of the profession. Readers want to learn what you know, from your unique perspective.

How can you become a Journal author? Think of and refine your topic. It should be of interest to Tennessee lawyers, which is a broad criteria. This could mean you might detail a new state law, explain a complicated area of law, or take a larger issue and connect it to what it means for Tennessee attorneys and the justice system. Find a global issue within your particular experience or knowledge and tell about it and how it affects Tennessee law. Then take a look at the writer’s guidelines at, which will tell you about length, notes and other details.

The Journal is always looking for excellent articles, so send yours in!

And as a bonus, if you are published, you may apply for CLE credit for your work under Supreme Court Rule 21 Section 4.07(b). For details on claiming the credit, check with the Commission on CLE & Specialization at

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TBA Convention in Kingsport is Just Around the Corner

Registration is open for the 2017 TBA Annual Convention. This years programming offers plenty of opportunities to make new friends and renew acquaintances with colleagues from across the state. The highlight comes Thursday night with the Kingsport Karnival at the downtown Farmers Market. Along with fabulous food and drink, there will be live music from two bands, an aerialist, juggler, magician, body and face painters, caricaturist and more. Plus, you'll have access to the fabulous Kingsport Carousel, the delightful project of community artisans. Special thanks to Eastman for support of this event! 

This years convention also offers 12 hours of CLE programming, highlighted by sessions on the Hatfields and McCoys, The Neuroscience of Decision-Making, and the popular Better Right Now wellness program. It is all set at the beautiful MeadowView Marriott Conference Resort & Convention Center. To receive the TBA $129 room rate, you must book your reservation by May 23. Book your room online now or call 423-578-6600.

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Call For Submissions — Law Practice Pointers

One of the benefits of being a TBA Section Member is having access to information from experienced practitioners to assist in your day-to-day practice. The sharing of this information amongst colleagues is one of the best traits of the profession. It is also a way of helping each other to maneuver the evolving legal market and strengthen your legal practice.

How can you help your fellow Section Members?  If you have some Law Practice Pointers you would like to share with your fellow section members, write an article between 300-500 words and submit it to the Section Coordinator for review and approval. These Law Practice Pointers can be related to a court opinion, piece of legislation, or current event or industry trend that affects the practice of law as it relates to the specific Section. The main requirement is to make sure the article gives lawyers practical tips, based on experience, to include in their day-to-day practice.

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Court: Survivorship Rights Ended When Joint Owner Transferred Ownership

In a family dispute over land, the Tennessee Supreme Court has held that, where two persons own land as joint tenants with a right of survivorship, if one of them transfers her interest in the land to someone else, that action terminates both of the joint tenants’ survivorship interests. Justice Sharon Lee filed a dissent in which she argued it would be better to follow the law in jurisdictions such as Michigan or Oregon that do not allow a joint co-tenant to act unilaterally, protecting the rights and expectations of the joint tenants.
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TBA Probate Bill Passes Senate

The Tennessee Bar Association’s probate legislation passed the full Senate today with a vote 30-0 to clear its last hurdle. Sponsored by Sen. John Stevens, R-Huntingdon, the bill revises various provisions relative wills and trusts.

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Banking, Estate Planning … and Someone Named Juris P. Prudence

Here's what you can expect from Tennessee Bar Journal columnists if you haven't gotten all the way through this month's issue yet. Kathryn Reed Edges looks at what the Trump Administration will mean for bankers. Eddy R. Smith explains why Tennessee is an attractive jurisdiction for establishing and maintaining trusts, and Bill Haltom writes about the introduction of a fictional character sure to steal the hearts of law-loving kids everywhere.

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Committees Move Campaign Finance Bill, Asset Forfeiture, Probate Clean Up

Tennessee House and Senate committees both moved forward with legislation that would double the number of campaign finance audits, the Tennessean reports. Also at the legislature, the asset forfeiture bill, as amended in the House, was recommended for adoption in the Senate Judiciary Committee. The TBA-backed probate clean up legislation, sponsored by Sen. John Stevens (R-Huntington), cleared a Senate committee with minor changes.
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Fred Thompson’s Sons Drop Suit Over Estate

The sons of Sen. Fred Thompson have dropped their lawsuit against their step-mother, Jeri Thompson, which claimed they were cut out of the late politician’s estate, the Tennessean reports. Tony and Dan Thompson dismissed their case on March 22. Jeri Thompson’s attorney, Bill Ramsey, claimed that the sons “misread, intentionally or otherwise, descriptions in legal bills that never should have been filed with the court.”
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Probate Omnibus Bill Ready for House Floor Vote

TBA-backed HB 567 has passed through its final House committee and is ready to be scheduled for a House floor vote. That is expected no later than next week. The legislation, sponsored by Rep. Pat Marsh, R-Shelbyville, is referred to as the Probate Omnibus Bill. It will update the Tennessee Code to reflect the elimination of the inheritance and estate tax. Two amendments are traveling with the legislation, deleting sections to avoid any negative impact to court orders on bank accounts, land titles and insurance policies. The companion bill, SB 769, sponsored by Sen. John Stevens, R-Huntingdon, is expected to go before the Senate Judiciary committee as soon as next week.

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Wedding CLE Looks at Everything from Prenups to Blended Families

Last chance to register! On March 29, experience a special wedding CLE at one of Nashville's premier wedding venues, the Cordelle. Sessions will touch on a variety of nuptial-related considerations, such as what to do pre-wedding, how to handle blended families, and the ins and outs of tax planning. Brunch will be included, with all the cake, mimosas and darling wedding mints you could want.

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