Contract Wills

Is a contract to make a will enforceable under Tennessee law?

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Charitable Solicitation in Tennessee

Charities that intend to solicit donations in Tennessee should not overlook the Solicitation of Charitable Funds Act.

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Odd Probate Case Poses Question No One is Asking

Specifically, whether Tennessee’s probate claim statute requires a creditor to provide the executor with proof of a claim before the executor must mail the creditor a copy of the published Notice to Creditors.

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Support Trusts

As the previous post notes, a special rule applies to a support trust in which the settlor’s spouse is a beneficiary. In that case, the trustee shall consider the spouse’s other resources (i.e., assets outside of trust) before making a distribution. But what is a “support trust” and why does the classification matter?

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Other Insurance and Creditor Claims

The previous post discusses the inability of a decedent’s creditors to reach the proceeds of life insurance under Tennessee law. But what about the proceeds from other types of insurance? Are they exempt from creditors as well? 

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Life Insurance Proceeds and Creditor Claims

Are life insurance proceeds subject to the claims of the decedent’s creditors under Tennessee law? Consider two scenarios.

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Getting the Decedent’s Final Paycheck Without Opening Probate

Tennessee has a statute for it:

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Considering Serving as Executor of an Estate Subject to a Tax Lien?

A recent case from the Southern District of Indiana might make you think twice.

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Contracts to Recover Unclaimed Property

Fee agreements with third parties for the recovery of property held by the Tennessee Division of Unclaimed Property are not uncommon. Such arrangements are now governed by statute:

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When Unclaimed Property is Presumed Abandoned

The following table summarizes when unclaimed property is presumed abandoned for purposes of the Tennessee Uniform Unclaimed Property Act:

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Year’s Support and Death of Surviving Spouse

As noted in the previous post, the death of the surviving spouse prior to filing for an elective share does not necessarily mean that she forfeits the right. But what about a year’s support?  Is it also available if the surviving spouse dies before filing?

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Elective Share and Death of Surviving Spouse

If the surviving spouse dies before filing for an elective share, does her right to dissent die with her?

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Anti-Lapse Statute Trumps Testator’s Intent

A recent Tennessee court of appeals case is a reminder that there are limits to how far the law on testator’s intent will take you.

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“Property” Under the New Unclaimed Property Act

What constitutes “property” for purposes of the Revised Uniform Unclaimed Property Act?

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Tennessee Enacts New Rules on Unclaimed Property

Tennessee has adopted the Revised Uniform Unclaimed Property Act (RUUPA). It became effective on July 1, and is codified at T.C.A. § 66-29-101, et seq. It replaces the Uniform Disposition of Unclaimed (Personal) Property Act.

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Tennessee Quietly Makes More Probate Changes

While much attention has been given to the 2017 Probate Omnibus Bill (SB0769, now codified as Public Chapter 290), a little-known bill that also became effective on July 1 makes several important probate changes that should not be overlooked.

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Concealing or Destroying a Will

It’s a crime under Tennessee law: Any person who destroys or conceals the last will and testament of a testator, or any codicil thereto, with intent to prevent the probate thereof or defraud any devisee or legatee, commits a Class E felony. A Class E felony is punishable by not less than one (1) year nor more than six (6) years. In addition, the jury may assess a fine not to exceed three thousand dollars ($3,000), unless otherwise provided by statute. Relying on an earlier version of this statute, the Tennessee Court of Appeals has indicated that a person in possession of a will has a duty to bring it forward, absent knowledge of any defect in its execution. Sources: T.C.A. […]

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More on the Primacy of Beneficiary Designations

Beneficiary designations trump a will. Tennessee has a statute on it:

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Rushed Prenup Invalidated by Court

How much time must pass between the execution of a prenuptial agreement and the wedding of the parties in order for the agreement to be enforceable?

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Sales of Personal Property by Executors

How much leeway does an executor have when it comes to selling the personal property of an estate?

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Reasonable Compensation of Executors

Serving as an executor is not an honor, it is work. As such, the person serving in this position will often want to be compensated for his, her, or its time. A common question is: how much is appropriate? The Tennessee Code simply provides that an executor is entitled to “reasonable compensation.” To wit: The clerk shall charge every accounting party with all sums of money the accounting party has received, or might have received by using due and reasonable diligence, and shall credit the accounting party with a reasonable compensation for services, and with disbursements supported by lawful vouchers. Elsewhere, in the statute dealing with priority of estate claims, it says as follows: (a) All claims or demands against […]

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Children Born after the Will is Executed

A good Last Will and Testament will address the issue of children born after the document is executed. Nonetheless, the Tennessee Code has the situation covered: A child born after the making of a will, either before or after the death of the testator, inclusive of a mother-testator, not provided for nor disinherited, but only pretermitted, in the will, and not provided for by settlement made by the testator in the testator’s lifetime, shall succeed to the same portion of the testator’s estate as if the testator had died intestate. The statute goes on to say that a pretermitted child’s share is to be funded pro rata out of the shares of the other beneficiaries.  Note that the quoted statute only […]

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Governor Signs SB0769

Today Governor Haslam signed SB0769, a bill that revises various provisions of the Tennessee Code relating to wills, trusts, and probate. The substantive provisions of the bill take effect July 1. Analysis of the bill may be found at the following links: 2017 Probate Omnibus Bill 2017 Probate Omnibus Bill: What’s Missing? Trust Funding & the Probate Omnibus Bill Memorandums of Personal Effects after SB0769 Tennessee’s Revised Slayer Statute Source: Tennessee Legislature Website Posted by Joel D. Roettger, JD, LLM, EPLS

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Tennessee’s Revised Slayer Statute

The new version of Tennessee’s Slayer Statute is much like the old version, only with 10 times more verbiage. Tennessee’s Slayer Statute is based on a simple principle: a killer cannot profit from the killer’s wrong. Thus, a killer forfeits the right to receive property from his victim by way of inheritance or otherwise.  The current version of the Slayer Statute expresses this idea relatively succinctly. In one paragraph and 122 words, it states: Any person who kills, or conspires with another to kill, or procures to be killed, any other person from whom the first named person would inherit the property, either real or personal, or any part of the property, belonging to the deceased person at the time of the […]

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Trust Funding & the Probate Omnibus Bill

An unassuming provision in the probate omnibus bill may prove to be a trap for some unwary practitioners. SB 0769, the 2017 Probate Omnibus Bill, has been transmitted to the Governor for his signature. One of the more perplexing provisions of the incipient law is Section 13, which adds the following to the end of T.C.A. § 35-15-402, Requirements for Creation [of a Trust]:  (d)   A lifetime trust is valid as to any assets held by the trust to the extent the assets have been transferred to the trust. For purposes of this subsection (d): (1)   Assets capable of registration, such as real estate, stocks, bonds, bank and brokerage accounts, and the like, are transferred to the trust through the […]

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