As a trust nerd, I love the Tennessee Uniform Trust Code. I like keep an up to date version of it as a desk reference for myself. I created it during law school for Judge Robert S. Benham at the Probate Court of Shelby County, Tennessee in 2010. I have kept it current ever since. The desk reference includes statutory commentary and is current through the most recent legislative session. I have also included my Tennessee trust and estate legislative update which includes comments on the 110th and 111th legislative sessions. The things I do for love. If you’d like to have a copy, CLICK HERE to download a .pdf.
HB0675/SB0542 (Re Trusts and Guardianships) enacted as pc0197
HB0676/SB0699 (Re Trusts and Disclaimers) enacted as pc0340
HB0190/SB0174 (Re Executor’s Oath) enacted as pc0332
What follows is my summary of the Tennessee trust and estate bills from the current legislative session and the laws from the previous legislative session as presented to the Trust and Estate section of the Memphis Bar Association on April 24, 2019.
The copies of the two most significant bills that have passed both houses with my annotations can be found here (my summary is below): SA0339 SB0542 Continue reading Tennessee Trust and Estate Law Legislative Update (April 2019)
Last week, Governor Haslam signed several new bills into law. I previously blogged about a bill which updated a number of areas of Trust and Probate law here which has been signed by the Governor.
Three other bills have been signed by the Governor which update several other areas of probate law. Two of these change the amount from $10,000 to $15,000 that may be paid out without probate by a credit union and bank, respectively.
The third act updates accounting procedures in Tennessee probate estates. My reading of third act is to eliminate a court’s discretion to require an accounting if the Will waives it. Instead, a status report detailing issues to be completed before the estate can be closed will be due within fifteen months from the opening of the estate. I also read a new TCA 30-2-601(b)(2) to allow the personal representative to be able to close an estate without an accounting even if all receipts have not been received. In such event, the personal representative would give notice to the beneficiary who has failed to give a receipt. If the beneficiary no-shows at the hearing to close the estate (or appears, but does not participate), the “[f]ailure of a non-compliant distributee to appear and or participate in the hearing shall result in a final order closing the estate.” [emphasis added].
There are also new statutory forms for the receipt and waiver.
A copy of the bill as signed by the Governor can be viewed here: Pub. Ch. 0280.
It should be noted that this bill updating probate accounting procedures became law as soon as it was signed by the Governor last week (as opposed to July 1 when most new laws become effective).
Update: Read Public Chapter No. 290 here.
SA0426 which revises a number of areas of the Wills, Trusts and Probate statutes has cleared the Tennessee Senate and is headed to the Governor’s desk. This bill updates law in the following areas:
Care must be taken when decanting or modifying older trusts. This is especially true if the goal is to extend the term of the trust. In truth, it should generally be avoided.
Modifying or decanting an irrevocable trust can cause a trust that is exempt from the GST because it was irrevocable prior to the effective date for the GST in 1986 (known as a “Grandfathered Trust”) to lose its exempt status.
Administrative modifications such as changing trustees is generally OK. What should generally be avoided is shifting benefits to a lower generation. You should carefully review Treasury Regulation section 26.2601-1 before making any changes whatsoever.
Such trusts may nevertheless be decanted or modified for purposes of extending the term of the trust. However, the longest time that such a trust may be extended is the latter of: Continue reading Practitioners Beware: Modifying or Decanting a GST Grandfathered Trust can cause the Loss of GST Exemption
I know you have been hanging on my every word. I know that you have been wondering what could I possibly be up to that is so important that I don’t have time for you. I’m sorry. I never intended to neglect you. My only excuse is that litigation is taking up more and more of my time.
But Rob, I thought you were an estate planner! What are you doing in litigation? That’s an excellent question.
The answer is: Fiduciary Litigation.
What is Fiduciary Litigation you ask? Another great question.
Well, lets start with what a fiduciary is. Continue reading When the Estate Plan Goes South: Fiduciary Litigation – Beneficiary versus Trustee.
Let me guess. The last person you want to see after a divorce is me, another dad-gum lawyer. I don’t blame you.
However, before you say that, know this: your designated beneficiary did not change just because you got a divorce. Here I am referring to life insurance, retirement accounts such as 401(k)’s and IRAs, and anything that allows you to name a beneficiary. If you did not change your beneficiaries after you got a divorce, then your ex-spouse probably gets everything if something happens to you.
In both Arkansas and Tennessee, provisions to an ex-spouse are revoked. This is not the case in Mississippi. In Mississippi, the provisions for the ex-spouse remain and he or she takes whatever you may have left them—perhaps everything.
No matter where you live, it is still time to revise your Will. Had a knowledgeable probate judge not been on the bench when Lorenzen Wright’s ex-spouse walked into probate court with his Will that left her everything, she might have been appointed in control of his estate. In fact, she tried. Order opening estate of Lorenzen Wright
Now you’re thinking (perhaps cynically)—there’s nothing left to get. Ok. Even if that’s true now, that may not be true five or ten years from now.
When will you update if not now?
Its time for an update.