The SafeEstates Blog

October 1, 2016

Can You Request the Original Will After Probate?

A client recently asked me if her father’s original will could be returned to her after the probate process was over.  I had never been asked that question before and had to call the clerk’s office and look at Tennessee law to search for the answer.  I found out that the court clerk will not return the original will back after probate is finished, and that Tennessee law directs the clerk to keep original wills with the records of their offices.  I think one of the major reasons for this is that a will offered for probate can be contested...

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December 15, 2015

Lessons from Nat King Cole on Estate Planning

The holiday season brings old and new Christmas music, especially here in Music City.  One of my favorite holiday tunes is Nat King Cole’s recording of The Christmas Song written in 1945 by Bob Wells and Mel Torme.  Cole recorded the song several times from 1946 to 1963.  This classic has said “Merry Christmas” to kids from one to ninety-two for generations.  The recording has been covered many times, many ways by numerous artists from a wide variety of genres. In 1964 Nat King Cole was diagnosed with lung cancer.  The disease resulted in his death on February 15, 1965...

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August 3, 2015

August 2015 Newsletter – Who Will Get the Beach House?

August means back to school.  Summer vacation travel is complete for many of us so this may be a good time to tell a story.  It may be painful to read.  Don’t cancel your travel plans or sell your private plane after you read this story.  This is just a reflection on an event that shaped my life. My family moved from Tennessee to Florida when I was twelve.  We lived in a wonderful coastal community.  I have many happy memories of that time in my life.  This story is about one family (I will call them the “Cleavers”) who...

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July 10, 2013

Probate Thoughts: Qualities of Successful Fiduciaries

Lately I have heard this statement, or a similar statement, repeated in reference to the probate of a decedent’s estate: “I am surprised he/she is the one in charge of the estate.” More often than not, time reveals the decedent chose wisely in appointing a personal representative. It got me thinking about the qualities that make for a successful administrator or executor of an estate and the trustee of a trust. Here is my short list of seven qualities: Trustworthiness Humility Respect Fairness Discretion Decisiveness Perseverance These are qualities we all have to some degree, and will do well to...

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