The Hidden Cost of Medicaid Benefits

A recent article by The Atlantic explores the Medicaid assistance program and its implications regarding the estates of decedent beneficiaries. The piece examines one case in particular where a Massachusetts woman was notified of an almost $200,000 lien on a family home after her mother succumbed to Alzheimer’s Disease. As it stands, Medicaid is the only welfare program that can function as a loan, with recipients over the age of 55 expected to repay the government for medical expenses or face seizure of property to satisfy the debt.

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TDCI Urges Legal Representatives and Beneficiaries to Check for Unclaimed Life Insurance Benefits

The Tennessee Department of Commerce and Insurance (TDCI) is working to address the issue of unclaimed life insurance benefits, urging residents in the state to take advantage of the National Association of Insurance Commissioner’s Life Insurance Policy Locator that enables beneficiaries, executors, or legal representatives of a deceased person to track down the life insurance policies or annuity contracts of their late family members or friends. TDCI announced that the tool is responsible for recovery of more than $18.5 million in unclaimed benefits by Tennesseans this year, with over $188 million recovered nationally.

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How Financial Planners Can Combat Elder Abuse

Financial planners who assist elderly clients might be a first line of defense in recognizing elder abuse, which makes spotting these signs of abuse and knowing how to assist abused seniors by these professionals imperative, according to a recent piece in Financial Planning. In fact, 23 states — including Tennessee — have adopted model legislation by the North American Securities Administrators Association (NASAA) that addresses such issues because of advisors’ distinct ability to notice early warning signs of abuse. Tennessee codified its version of NASAA’s model legislation in 2017.

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Topgolf CLE: Estate Planning Tee-Off a Success

The TBA Estate Planning & Probate Section recently held its second annual Estate Planning Tee-Off, packing the house at Topgolf in Nashville. Attendees enjoyed top-notch presentations from seasoned attorneys, followed by networking and two hours of play at the Topgolf facility. Thanks to the TBA Estate Planning & Probate Executive Council members for their time and assistance with another remarkable event. 
Newman Bankston, Section Chair, Egerton, McAfee, Armistead & Davis, Knoxville
David Parsons, Vice-Chair, Attorney at Law, Nashville 
Michael Goode, Immediate Past Chair, Lewis Thomason, Nashville
Jeff Carson, Diversified Trust, Nashville
J. Barry, Elder Law of Middle Tennessee, Lebanon
Paul Hayes, Howard Mobley Hayes & Gontarek, Nashville
Chris Coats, Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell & Berkowitz, Memphis
Angelia Nystrom, University of Tennessee Foundation, Knoxville
Donald Farinato, Hodges, Doughty & Carson, Knoxville
Jennifer Kent Exum, Chambliss Bahner & Stophel, Chattanooga
John Billings, TCV Wealth Management, Knoxville
Victoria Tillman, McKinney & Tillman, Knoxville
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First Tennessee Expands Trust Division to Middle Tennessee

First Tennessee Bank recently announced the opening of a new office for its trust division in Nashville, the Nashville Post reports. The company plans to increase financial planning services throughout middle Tennessee, appointing Stephen Russell, as head of trust and estate administration for the Middle Tennessee region. Russell was previously vice president and senior trust officer in its Knoxville office and is a TBA Estate Planning and Probate Section member.

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Tomorrow: 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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