Probate

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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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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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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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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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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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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