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Nashville Tennessee Legal Blog

Gun ownership restrictions in Tennessee

While Tennessee residents are allowed to own guns, there are some limitations imposed on gun ownership. For instance, an individual must pass a background check if they buy their firearm from a licensed dealer. The background check costs $10, and there is no waiting period imposed on the sale of a gun. Even if a person passes a background check, there are limitations as to the types of weapons that he or she can own.

The state makes it illegal to own a machine gun or an explosive weapon. There is also a ban in place on any device that is designed to shoot an explosive weapon. Furthermore, silencers and short-barreled rifles and shotguns are illegal in the state. Those who have been convicted of a felony that resulted in a prison sentence of more than one year cannot own a firearm.

4 reasons to get a divorce immediately

Everyone faces enormous societal pressure to (1) get married and (2) stay married for the rest of their lives. However, regardless of how happy your relationship was, and regardless of how difficult it is right now, no one should ever feel guilty if it's time to bring a marriage to a close.

It's natural to feel sad or remorseful when a marriage comes to a close, and it's natural to deliberate and go back and forth about whether to get a divorce. However, there are some circumstances when divorce is the clear go-to solution for a difficult relationship.

More Americans over 50 are headed for divorce

In Tennessee and across the country, divorce rates have stabilized or even declined for Americans across nearly all demographics. While this trend has been widespread over the past 20 years, one demographic group has seen a dramatically different trend -- people over the age of 50. Since the middle of the 1990s, the divorce rate among spouses over 50 has more than doubled. These separations are referred to as "gray divorces," and today, approximately 25 percent of all divorces can be characterized as "gray."

Of course, these statistics embrace both divorces that take place after many years of marriage as well as those that follow later-in-life second or third marriages. There are a number of reasons for this trend, including the fact that there are simply millions more Americans over 50 than there were in the past. In addition, these people are leading longer, healthier lives. While there were 63.5 million people over 50 across the country in 1990, that number rose to 99 million by 2010.

When a corporate trustee is the right choice

Trusts may have a variety of uses for Tennessee residents. They may be designed to allow certain types of assets to appreciate in value tax free before being passed on to beneficiaries. They may allow the grantor to dictate how distributions will be made based on any criteria the grantor wishes to set, such as the beneficiary's age. Grantors can also use a trust to state their goals.

However, there is one error people commonly make amid all this careful planning, and that is naming a friend or family member as the trustee. At first, this can seem like the perfect solution. The friend or family member is trustworthy and understands the family dynamics. Unfortunately, there is a good chance that person will lack the financial and legal knowledge required to manage a complex trust.

Prince's estate still not distributed to heirs

Tennessee fans of Prince may be aware that he died without a will. Two years later, his heirs have yet to receive anything from his estate.

Only the executor and attorneys dealing with Prince's estate have been paid while the state and the IRS have both collected taxes. Unfortunately, the value of the estate that remains after bills are paid cannot be divided among the six siblings that survive Prince until there is an agreement between the IRS and the executor regarding the estate's value when he died.

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.

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