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In Our Judgement: In Law & In Life

550 West Main Street, Suite 500  |  Knoxville, Tennessee 37902  |  office 865.546.9321  |  fax 865.637.5249 Directions & Parking Info

In Our Judgment

The official Frantz, McConnell, and Seymour, LLP blog.
Visit us for tips to make and keep your estate planning, wills, trusts, real estate, and business succession planning up-to-date. Topics on everything from delegating health care and financial decision-making authority during disability and other family/medical-related issues, to current state and federal tax laws that should be considered when forming or managing a family business.

Disinheritance in Tennessee

Disinheritance in Tennessee

An occasional question that comes up in drafting a will, is whether the person making a will can disinherit a child.  The simple answer is that in Tennessee, parents can disinherit a son or daughter.  No reason needs to be stated in the will.

Some think they must leave a child a dollar.  That is not correct.  Leaving someone a dollar can be troublesome for the executor.  Before probate can be closed, a receipt must be filed for each beneficiary.  A beneficiary who receives only $1.00 may not feel like cooperating and require extra filings and additional court proceedings to close the estate.

Caution should be exercised in disinheriting a child.  Disinheriting children often results in hard feelings and family discord.  The disinherited child may claim that the beneficiaries of the will used undue influence on the parent to receive a larger share of the estate.  This may result in an expensive will contest lawsuit and trial.

Although children may be disinherited, a spouse may not.  In Tennessee, a surviving spouse is entitled to an elective share of the estate, regardless of what the will provides.  The percentage of the spouse’s share depends on the length on marriage.

Disinheriting a child should be carefully discussed with an attorney when drafting a will.  There are numerous facts that should be taken into account, including how the language of the will should reflect how children are treated.

If you would like to speak to James Wagner on this or any other matter, he may be reached at (865) 546-9321.

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What are the Duties of a Conservator?

What are the Duties of a Conservator?

In Tennessee, a Court may appoint a Conservator for a person who lacks mental capacity to handle his / her own affairs.  But what exactly does a Conservator DO and what are the responsibilities of the job?

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What is a Conservatorship?

What is a Conservatorship?

All adults in Tennessee are legally considered to be competent and to have the ability (or capacity) to make their own decisions – about their finances and their own medical issues. However, sometimes an adult can suffer disability through a tragic injury, disease, or (in many cases) through the aging process and the deterioration of one’s mental abilities (i.e. Alzheimer’s or dementia type symptoms).

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Potential Legal Traps for Executors Distributing Firearms from an Estate

Potential Legal Traps for Executors Distributing Firearms from an Estate

In Tennessee, like most states, estates frequently include the decedent’s firearms. There are legal concerns for the executor1  concerning distributing the firearms to beneficiaries or heirs of an estate.  These can involve a beneficiary who is disqualified from possessing a firearm, or too young to take possession.  There may even be concerns about the legality of the firearm itself, see What Do You Do with Grandpa's Machine Gun.  

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Estate Planning Update 2017

Estate Planning Update 2017

No one can predict the future, but it appears likely that we’ll see some major changes the federal estate tax law following President-elect Trump’s inauguration on January 20th.  A repeal of the federal estate tax has been discussed, along with what I’ll call an alternative system whereby certain unrealized capital gains are taxed at death.  Another possibility (especially if the federal estate tax were to be repealed) would be a renewal of the “carryover cost basis” rules that were temporarily in place in 2010, or in other words, no more step-up in basis at death.  While it is good to be prepared for anticipated revisions in the laws, I would not suggest making any changes to your estate plan for estate tax planning purposes until we know for sure what legislation may get passed and/or repealed later in 2017.

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