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Nashville Tennessee Legal Blog

Retirement assets require special attention during divorce

Retirement assets frequently form the largest pool of cash that divorcing couples in Tennessee need to split. According to a recent survey by the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, retirement accounts represent the second most common issue that divorcing couples fight over (alimony is No. 1). Even in amicable divorces, the parties need to pay close attention to the details when dividing the funds to avoid early withdrawal fees and high income taxes.

Workplace retirement plans require a document known as a qualified domestic relations order to disburse funds. The QDRO, which emerges as part of the divorce agreement, enables a plan administrator to release funds. Ideally, the parties will set up new retirement plans to receive the funds. This is called a trustee-to-trustee transfer, and it removes the obligation to pay income taxes and fees because the money went into a new retirement account. When people need the money after the divorce, they must investigate the taxes and fees that they might owe upon receiving the cash directly.

How can I prove loss of consortium?

When your loved ones are involved in a serious car accident, it can turn your lives upside down. Although you are thankful that they were able to survive such an event, their serious injuries mean that you have had to readjust your life and your priorities completely.

Many people in such situations have had to give up their careers in order to permanently care for their injured spouse, and although they are able to receive some financial damages, they believe that they in no way represent the extent to which the event took hold of their quality of life.

Estate planning documents should be regularly reviewed

Many people in Tennessee want to complete the estate planning process and then put those documents aside. Due to inevitable life and law changes, however, estate plans can often be ripe for review and updating. This will help to ensure that they accurately reflect one's wishes.

Many experts advise a review of primary estate planning documents, including a will, financial power of attorney and advanced medical directive, by a lawyer at least every 10 years. Of course, a review can be prompted by other major life events, such as marriage, divorce or the birth of a child or grandchild. Many estate holders may wish to add new beneficiaries or remove beneficiaries with whom they have ended a relationship.

Using trusts to protect assets from adult beneficiaries

People in Tennessee may make a grave error if they leave their assets outright to their adult children without considering whether their offspring have the financial maturity needed to properly handle the wealth they receive. Just because someone is a particular age does not mean that he or she possesses financial sophistication. It is important that individuals consider the risks associated with leaving inheritances directly to adult children and the benefits of using a trust as a vehicle for the inheritance.

A common goal for wealth is to see to it that it will last for years for multiple generations. Having the wealth professionally managed can help this goal be realized. While an adult child who has been left his or her inheritance outright may see the wisdom of hiring a financial advisor to assist with managing the wealth, he or she may not be wise enough to choose the right person for the job.

Estate plans and digital assets

Tennessee residents should make sure that their estate plans include provisions for all of their assets. This includes digital assets, such as emails.

According to one associate professor of law, the law leaves no doubt about the treatment of physical assets, like paper documents, when a person dies. However, court rulings, laws and regulations are just starting to address what should happen to the digital property people leave behind when they die. In the majority of cases, the enterprises that store the digital information determine what happens to the assets despite the wishes or instructions of decedent.

Why estate planning is essential for businesses

Tennessee business owners have a great deal to consider when planning for the protection and longevity of their companies. However, one layer of security that is often overlooked is business estate planning and probate. Most people make provisions for the financial care of family upon their demise. Unfortunately, many business owners neglect to properly plan for the survival of the very thing they have spent their lives building. While business estate planning might seem overwhelming, there are substantial considerations that make it necessary to begin a business estate plan as soon as possible.

In order to last beyond the lifetime of the owner, it is necessary to establish a pathway to have the business transition from one generation to the next. Without a plan in place, the business could flounder, costing employees their jobs and livelihood. An estate business plan will create a procedure for management to carry on the daily operations of the business following the death of the owner.

Co-parenting might be an option for child custody situations

Child custody arrangements aren't standardized like they once were. In the past, children were usually sent to live with the mother and only saw the father every other weekend. This isn't the case now. Child custody arrangements are now based on what is best for the children instead of what is easiest for the adults or on some archaic formula.

There are many different parenting arrangements that you can consider. You should think about how each option will impact the children. One of the possibilities is the co-parenting model. This means that you will work closely with your ex, but the arrangement might be in the interest of your children.

Report: Federal agencies secretly tipping off local police

A report by Human Rights Watch says that federal law enforcement agencies have been passing along secret tips based on information collected through constitutionally questionable methods. When state and local law enforcement receive these tips, they create a false narrative about how they discovered the information in a process called "parallel construction."

While law enforcement insists this is legal, it may not be constitutional. If the original source of the information was an unconstitutional search, any use of that information would presumably violate the suspect's rights. Moreover, hiding the real source of evidence prevents defendants from being able to fully confront and challenge it. Finally, these deceptive practices open the door to abuse, prejudice and misconduct.

Do Class Action Suits Have to Involve a Large Number of Plaintiffs?

There is no limitation to the number of plaintiffs who can participate in a class action suit. However, the claims of all participating parties must have the common aspects required to qualify for such a suit, and exceptionally large classes may not meet this vital prerequisite. Seeking advice from an experienced civil litigation attorney can help individuals in Nashville and elsewhere in Tennessee understand the best options for handling any civil case.

Are Seniors Susceptible to More than Physical Abuse?

Unfortunately, anyone who has a significant degree of control over the lives of seniors can easily subject them to financial abuse. Whether your loved one resides at home with a caregiver or in an elder care residential facility, you need to remain watchful for signs that someone is taking financial advantage of him or her. If you have even minor concerns, consult with an experienced Nashville nursing home abuse attorney who can advise you of next steps.

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