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Nashville Tennessee Legal Blog

Estate planning with children in mind

Estate planning can be particularly important for Tennessee parents. When creating wills, trusts, powers of attorney and other key documents, people can make specific arrangements to provide for their children. Creating an estate plan in advance can provide financial benefits like reducing tax burdens or eliminating probate costs and delays. Furthermore, planning ahead can give the estate owner greater peace of mind by knowing that their children and other loved ones will be cared for.

Estate planning can be accessible to families of all means. For someone with significant wealth, they can develop a plan that is as complex as necessary to ensure that their assets are managed properly for the maximum benefit of heirs. For people of more modest means, an estate plan does not need to be complex or expensive. Each type of estate document can be critical for parents. In addition to passing on assets, a will can name a desired guardian for the children in case both parents pass away. Trusts can provide a mechanism to transfer wealth to minor children over the years.

People determine the fate of an estate plan

Tennessee residents and others with an estate plan need to act carefully when naming their representatives. If the wrong person is chosen to act on an individual's behalf, it could blow up the entire plan. The three main representatives a person has is an agent, a trustee and an executor. The agent has authority to act with permission granted in a power of attorney or health care directive form.

A trustee is given broad authority to make decisions regarding a trust while the executor is charged with settling an estate after a person dies. Other important figures may include a funeral agent and a long-term care lapse designee. Problems can arise when a person is named to a role without being consulted first. It can also be problematic when the responsibilities of one role overlap with those of another.

Posting online is risky after a failed Breathalyzer test

It's so easy to lose track of time when you meet with friends after work. Many people trust themselves to have one or two drinks and then plan to drive home within the legal blood alcohol concentration (BAC) limit. However, it is extremely difficult to know whether you really are driving legally after consuming any alcohol at all and proceeding to step into the driver's seat. It is all too common to get caught driving under the influence of alcohol in the state of Tennessee.

After failing a Breathalyzer test, drivers tend to surrender themselves to the belief that a DUI charge is imminent and unavoidable. However, if you do believe that you were, in fact, under the legal limit when the Breathalyzer test was taken, it is possible to defend yourself. Breathalyzer tests are notorious for being inaccurate, so a successful defense and a dismissal of charges is possible, in many situations. If you believe that you were legally driving when you failed a Breathalyzer test, it is vital that you protect your defense possibilities by following some simple rules.

Don't be caught financially off-guard during a divorce

Divorce often brings with it some financial surprises, but Tennessee residents can prepare for them. Learning about marital finances before the divorce process even begins is the first step in planning for financial health after the divorce is final.

A recent survey conducted by the online marketplace Worthy looked at the ways women were surprised when it came to finances during divorce. They found six main surprises including lacking knowledge about their marital debt, not knowing that they would have to return to work, making incorrect assumptions about the amount of child support and alimony and how long they would receive it, thinking they could keep their home, not knowing just how much health insurance costs and underestimating how expensive divorce can be.

Trusts and the rise in interest rates

There are various types of trusts that Tennessee residents can include in their estate plans. With the recent rise in interest rates, the grantor retained annuity trust and the charitable lead annuity trust have become increasingly popular with estate owners who want to pass down more to their beneficiaries.

A GRAT is a trust that has been created to function for a specific period of time. It has an annuity that pays the grantor a set amount for every year the trust is in existence. The annuity payout consists of the retained interest, and after the grantor dies, the remaining value will be transferred to the grantor's beneficiaries.

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.

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Stover Law Group
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Nashville, TN 37201

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