Estate

Just Weeks Away: Elder Law Forum 2019

The 2019 TBA Elder Law Forum will return to the illustrious ‘batman’ building in downtown Nashville on July 12. This forum offers top-notch programming, with essential information for both seasoned practitioners and attorneys interested in adding elder law to their practice. The program will feature timely topics such as updates on TennCare, uniform powers of attorney, recent changes to VA benefits, annuities, ethics and more. Don't miss this opportunity to connect with colleagues from across the state and catch up on the latest developments in this practice area. Section members receive a discount to attend the program. Here are the key details:
 
When: Friday, July 12, registration begins at 8 a.m., CDT
Where: AT&T Building – Auditorium, 333 Commerce St., Nashville 
CLE Credit: 5 General, 1 Dual
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Settlement Reached Between Estate of Michael Jackson, Former Manager

One battle regarding Michael Jackson’s assets is over, as the King of Pop’s estate reached a settlement with his former manager, USA Today reports. This comes five days into a trial over a dispute between the manager, Tohme R. Tohme, and the estate concerning commissions and proceeds from the posthumous concert film “This Is It.” Prior to the trial, the presiding judge denied Tohme’s interest in the film, but allowed his commissions claim to proceed. While the estate acknowledged efforts by Tohme, it contended that his contract ended with the singer's death and he was entitled only to a percentage of income Jackson himself received while he was alive. The settlement is confidential.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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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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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