A will provides insight into a decedent’s final wishes, and a personal assessment of his or her personal relationships. If a person feels strongly that the contents of the will are invalid or that the will was procured by undue influence, then a will contest may be pursued under T.C.A. § 32-4-101 in the court holding proper jurisdiction.
Under Tennessee statutory law, a surviving spouse may take an “elective share” of the deceased spouse’s estate in lieu of what has been provided for him or her in the will or through the laws of intestacy. This law provides a mechanism for protecting the rights of surviving spouses who may not have received what they consider a fair share of the decedent’s estate. For individuals concerned about having their wishes altered by such an election, several estate planning tools remain available to minimize the risks associated with the elective share.
When navigating the estate planning process, many individuals have questions regarding the durability of their wills and wonder how often they should be updating their documents. In considering these questions, take inventory of recent life events that may have occurred after a will’s execution as some of these milestones can trigger automatic revocation of a will.
There is an ever-present concern for providing the next generation with the right tools for success. While parents do their best to impart their own financial wisdom upon their children, some individuals require extra help. In terms of estate planning, this concern creates an additional need that is separate from personal asset protection and instead focuses on implementing strategies that protect intended beneficiaries from themselves.
Following the December 2016 death of “Growing Pains” actor, Alan Thicke, tensions have risen between his loved ones concerning his estate, and the validity of a 2005 prenuptial agreement with his third wife. In a petition filed in May in Los Angeles County Superior Court, Thicke’s sons, Robin and Brennan, requested guidance regarding distributing their father’s trust property and the legitimacy of any potential claims from his widow, Tanya Callau Thicke, about the prenuptial agreement. Callau Thicke recently responded through a reported filing in early July. It seems that the legal battle is just getting started.
Florida Gov. Rick Scott’s recent veto of Florida’s proposed “Electronic Wills Act” has added to the recent buzz in the estate planning world surrounding proposed new legislation regarding electronic wills. Florida’s proposed Electronic Wills Act (House Bill 277) aimed to authorize the creation of electronic wills and the execution and witnessing of such wills by way of remote technology.
We have all been witness to the probate headache accompanying the unfortunate death of the late musical mastermind, Prince, as the result of his passing without a will. While the process has taken over a year, in early May, Judge Eide ruled that Prince’s sister and five-half siblings were the heirs to his multi-million dollar estate. Underlying issues, however, remain unresolved.
Tennessee does not currently have a statute which directly addresses the execution and validity of electronic wills. The formal recognition of electronic wills, however, may be coming.
Bryant v. Bryant: Tennessee Supreme Court Rules Co-Owner of Joint Tenancy May Unilaterally Sever the Joint Tenancy and Destroy the Right of Survivorship
The Supreme Court of Tennessee recently released an opinion in Bryant v. Bryant that, although two people have expressly created a joint tenancy with a right of survivorship, the survivorship interests of the joint tenants may be severed by the unilateral action of one joint tenant, and that doing so converts the estate into a tenancy in common.
In a recent press release, dated March 8, 2017, the Chamber of Digital Commerce and Steptoe & Johnson LLP jointly announced the formation of the Digital Assets Tax Policy Coalition (“the Coalition”). Made in response to a lack of guidance from the Internal Revenue Service regarding the tax treatment of digital currencies, the Coalition aims to “help develop effective and efficient tax policies for the growing virtual currency markets.”