The SafeEstates Blog

January 5, 2018

Planning Bloopers

We hope the New Year brings joy, peace and prosperity to you and yours! As you reflect on the events of the old year and resolve to live the new year to the fullest, join us in resolving to make more decisions and keep moving forward. If we make 100 decisions, and only 10 of them are great ones, that is better than only making 10 decisions even if 5 of them are great ones. The results of the 10 great decisions will more than outweigh the 90 other decisions. Of course, if we can improve our decision making so 20-30% are great...

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December 20, 2017

Out of State… But in Charge!

It seems that more and more often families have members who live in different areas of the country. While we think things usually go the smoothest if you select someone who lives in town or close by to be your health care agent, durable general power of attorney, executor, and/or trustee, if you don’t have someone you trust to serve in these roles who lives close by, you can choose a person who lives out of state instead. We have had many clients who select out of state fiduciaries and as long as the person who is serving for you realizes some...

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December 5, 2017

Christmas Edition – The Man Who Invented Christmas

The Man Who Invented Christmas (now in theaters everywhere) tells the magical journey that led to the creation of Ebenezer Scrooge, Bob Cratchit, Tiny Tim, and other classic characters from A Christmas Carol . We hope you have time and opportunity to see it with people you love. Charles Dickens loved Christmas. We love reading Charles Dickens tell about Christmas. So here is a selection from The Posthumous Papers of the Pickwick Clubwritten by a young and confident Dickens. Christmas was close at hand, in all his bluff and hearty honesty; it was the season of hospitality, merriment, and open-heartedness; the old year was preparing, like an...

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November 20, 2017

Life Insurance Owners & Beneficiaries

Life insurance can be a powerful tool for managing risk in a business succession plan or an estate plan. Life insurance occasionally has unintended consequences, for example, when a minor child or young adult is named the beneficiary of a large policy. What would you have done at age 18 with a million dollars? We recommend periodically asking your insurance agent or insurance company for written confirmation of the status of your policies in a policy statement (identifying the policy owner, insured, and beneficiary) and an inforce illustration (projecting future premiums, cash value, and death benefits. If you have already obtained and verified your...

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November 5, 2017

A Lesson From Tom Petty on End of Life Decisions

After Randy finished law school, he joined a law firm in Gainesville, Florida. From the law firm partners and the local judges, Randy received much mentoring, kindness, encouragement and correction. One judge was especially memorable. Judge Tench had silver hair, wore a neatly trimmed and waxed handlebar moustache, and was a dapper dresser. At an early morning hearing, Judge Tench enthusiastically described attending his son’s rock concert in Jacksonville the night before. Randy knew the judge’s son played in a local band, but did not know much about the group. It was remarkable to hear conservative and distinguished Judge Tench so supportive of his son’s...

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September 19, 2017

Estate Planning Awareness Week – October 16-20th, 2017

October 16-20th is Estate Planning Awareness Week! Join us for a FREE seminar at the Brentwood Library on October 16th from 5-6pm, as we answer common questions about estate planning. This is a great opportunity if you've never created an estate plan, or if your estate plan is out of date. Please RSVP here if you'd like to join us for this FREE event, hosted by Safe Estates!

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August 10, 2017

Substantive Tip: Changes to the Law Related to the Memorandum of Tangible Personal Property

Tennessee lawmakers recently clarified the law related to the Memorandum of Tangible Personal Property.  This legislation became effective on July 1st.  Under the new law, your will or trust can refer to a separate written statement.  You can create the written statement to dispose of items of tangible personal property.  As a reminder, these items include furniture, art work, jewelry, guns, clothing, collectibles and vehicles, but the items cannot include money (unless a coin collection), real estate, securities or documents of title or indebtedness.  The list can be created before or after you sign your estate plan, and it has to be in...

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August 1, 2017

Does A Business Die When Its Founder Is Murdered?

What happens when the founder of a company dies unexpectedly?  Jim Miller founded Jim Miller Excavating Company, Inc.  in Sweetwater, Tennessee in 1990.  Jim operated the business until he was murdered in 2010 at age 60.  On the day of his death, he worked on an interstate highway project until dark, then attended an election commission meeting late in the evening.  He never made it home afterwards.  He died intestate (no will), survived by his spouse, Vickie, and his daughters, Mechelle and Jamie, from a previous relationship. Because he had no will, Jim’s estate passed by intestate succession to his...

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July 17, 2017

Substantive Tip – I Have A New Will. What Should I Do With My Old One?

If you are satisfied with your new will, destroy the old ones by shredding or burning them.  Before taking that step, however, consider the consequences after your death if you do or do not destroy your old wills.  If your new will is contested (based on incapacity or undue influence) and declared invalid, or your new will cannot be found, your most recent old will may take effect even if your new will expressly revoked all previous wills.  If your new will is invalid and your old wills have been destroyed, your estate will be administered based on your state’s...

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July 3, 2017

Independence Day Reflections

I recently watched the movie version of the musical 1776.  I remember seeing the stage version in Texas in 1976.  My brother, Jonathan, played in the orchestra.  The musical tells the story of the Declaration of Independence.  The take-away lesson for me: stay focused on the goal of independence even though it requires painful political compromise.  Thomas Jefferson, John Adams and Benjamin Franklin collaborated and shepherded 13 distinct colonies to form one unified nation.  The delegates had arguments but stuck to the task until the goal was reached.  We continue to grow in our realization of the promises and truths expressed...

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