The SafeEstates Blog

May 1, 2020

COVID-19 and Legal Services

We hope you are safe and well. Those who have experienced personal loss from the tornado or pandemic are in our thoughts and prayers. Those who have relieved the suffering of others in their distress, thank you for your kindness and generosity. We are still available to help you with legal services. We are following CDC guidelines, washing our hands, social distancing, disinfecting surfaces regularly, etc. Our office will reopen for all in-person services on May 4. Initially we will limit our in-office appointments to 1 each morning and 1 each afternoon. We will follow the Tennessee Pledge: General Guidelines for Businesses which you can...

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April 4, 2020

Strike The Tent!

This April marks the 155th anniversary of the surrender of Gen. Robert E. Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia to Gen. Ulysses S. Grant’s Army of the Potomac at Appomattox Courthouse, Virginia on April 9, 1965. General Grant later was elected President of the United States in 1869. General Lee became President of Washington College (now Washington and Lee University) in 1865. Lee led the college until his death in 1870 at age 63. Robert E. Lee wrote his last will and testament in 1846 while stationed in Brooklyn, New York, as a U.S. Army captain of engineers. At the time...

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April 1, 2020

COVID-19 and Legal Services

We hope you are safe and well. Those who have experienced personal loss from the tornado or pandemic are in our thoughts and prayers. Those who have relieved the suffering of others in their distress, thank you for your kindness and generosity. As this newsletter is heading to publication, Metro Health Department has issued a Safer at Home Order directing all Davidson County residents to stay inside their homes from March 23-April 5 except to take care of essential needs and obtain or provide essential services. Legal services are among those deemed “essential services businesses” which will remain open. The Safer at Home Order...

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February 15, 2020

SECURE Act: Time to Revisit “Trust as Beneficiary” of Retirement Accounts

The SECURE Act was signed into law on December 20,2019 to take effect on January 1, 2020. Although the SECURE Act makes six or more key changes relating to retirement accounts (traditional IRAs and 401(k)s), we will mention two and focus on one of them. If you have a large retirement account and you have named a trust for your children as beneficiary of the retirement account, you will want to read this article closely. Keep in mind this is a brand new law and it may take a while for estate planning professionals to collaborate and develop new strategies....

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January 2, 2020

Leaving A Legacy

Most of our goals focus on one-year, five-year and ten-year time spans. We don’t spend nearly enough time thinking about the legacy we want to leave to our family, friends and community. You probably know this story. Oseola McCarty quit school in 6th grade to care for her aunt. She earned her living doing laundry in Hattiesburg, Mississippi. She never owned a car. She never married and had no children. She died from cancer in 1999 at age 91. Ms. McCarty is remembered because with the help of an attorney and bank trust officer she established an irrevocable trust with her life savings; at her death the...

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November 7, 2019

A Legacy of Hospitality, Charity and More

When hotel magnate Barron Hilton died September 19, 2019 at age 91, the lead story was his pledge to follow his father’s example by giving 97 percent of his wealth to the humanitarian work of the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation. In round numbers, Barron’s $3 billion gift was projected to increase the foundation’s endowment to over $6 billion. The foundation’s mission is to relieve the suffering, the distressed, and the destitute. That’s a big way to spell relief! The legacy of this remarkable family is worth reviewing. Conrad Hilton was born in 1887, served in the first New Mexico State Legislature in 1912,...

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October 4, 2019

Have All the Heirs Been Accounted For?

How do you know when you should update your existing will? We have a client who called us from Florida. His cousin’s employer called and notified him that his cousin had passed away from a sudden heart attack. The good news is that his cousin executed a will before she died. Unfortunately, she executed it ten years earlier and the Personal Representatives and all of her named beneficiaries had predeceased her! The cousin had no living spouse, child, grandchild, parent, sibling, nephew, or niece - nada! So, what does this mean for our client’s cousin’s (the decedent’s) estate? Fortunately, all was not lost. There are laws that dictate...

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August 13, 2019

Ross Perot – 1930-2019

I remember very clearly in 1986 listening on the radio to an NPR interview with Ross Perot while I was driving to a noon Rotary meeting. At the time, Perot was a director and the largest individual shareholder of General Motors. The radio journalist asked, “Mr. Perot, as a director, you are entitled to a new GM vehicle every 6 months. Why are you still driving your 5-year old Oldsmobile?” Perot responded in his Texarkana twang, “When I buy something, I intend to use it.” Over the past 30 plus years I have applied that quote to a broad range of decisions. I may not remember...

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July 3, 2019

Independance Day Reflections

This month we celebrate our nation’s birthday, July 4, 1776, at age 223. Independence Day reminds Americans we enjoy unique freedoms: speech, religion, guns, due process, trial by jury, and more. Our freedoms are often threatened but still in place. God bless America! Did you know Presidents John Adams and Thomas Jefferson signed the Declaration of Independence in 1776 and died on the same day, July 4th, 1826? The date was the Fiftieth Anniversary of the Declaration. The coincidence was described as a “visible and palpable” manifestation of “Divine favor” by the sitting President at the time, John Quincy Adams....

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June 15, 2019

Substantive Tip – Handwritten Wills

You may recall when Aretha Franklin died last August, her four sons believed she had no will. By law, in the absence of a will, the four sons would share equally in her very large estate. Recently, several handwritten (holographic) wills have been found in her home, upsetting the peaceful relations among the sons. Some of the wills were found in a locked cabinet; others were found under the sofa cushions. The most recent will, dated 2014, will be considered by the court at a hearing on June 17. If valid, the 2014 will changes the executor and changes each child’s share of the...

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