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Nashville Estate Administration Law Blog

Cryptocurrency billionaire dead just before going to rehab

The billionaire cryptocurrency investor Matthew Mellon was found dead at a hotel room in Cancun only a day before he was supposed to check into a drug rehab facility. The facility said that the man arrived in Cancun with an entourage on a private plane last Sunday, but he never made it to the rehab center.

Reports indicate that Mellon checked into a Cancun hotel the night before he was scheduled to report to the rehab facility, Clear Sky Recovery. However, he was found dead at his hotel the following morning on April 16. Mellon had intended to use the controversial ibogaine drug in his addiction therapy. Ibogaine is banned in the United States.

These children of celebrities inherited more than you realize

Just like everyone else who is planning their estates, celebrities know that they "can't take it with them." For this reason, the smartest celebrities create a detailed estate plan that ensures their children are properly taken care of when they're gone. That said, you might be surprised by just how well-taken care of some children of celebrities actually are.

There are a few celebrity inheritance figures that will probably surprise you. These include:

Have you included digital assets in your estate plan?

Although many people are shutting down their social media accounts in the wake of the recent Facebook scandal, the majority of people have continued their online presence. However, the way we use digital accounts is not only related to social media.

Most of us also have online banking accounts, online digital storage accounts and some of us even have cryptocurrency coins worth thousands of dollars in cryptographic and online blockchain wallets.

Could your family benefit from a spendthrift trust?

Imagine you're a multimillionaire with a son who has an addiction problem. Imagine you have $700,000 saved in the bank and your daughter is a shopaholic who couldn't save a penny if her life depended on it. In these situations, if you're wondering how to set up your estate plan, you might want to consider a spendthrift trust.

A spendthrift trust is exactly what you've heard about in the movies. It is a trust fund that slowly doles out the inheritance of a particular beneficiary over time. Perhaps it gives your heir $3,000 per month for the rest of his or her life. Perhaps it gives your heir $1,000 a month for the rest of his or her life. Then, if there's any money left over, the balance could go to the charity of your choice.

Does Tennessee law support the creation of a pet trust?

According to Tennessee trust laws, animal lovers can use a trust to pay for the care of their animals after they have passed away. These so-called "pet trusts" terminate when the animal dies, or -- in cases where the trust offers care to more than one animal -- the trust terminates when the last surviving animal dies. These trusts, however, may not last longer than 90 years.

Here are some of the provisions included in Tennessee's "pet trust" law:

  • Animal owners can create a pet trust to care for an animal or multiple animals for up to 90 years. The trust will terminate upon the death of the last surviving animal associated with the trust.
  • The following individuals can enforce the terms of the pet trust so long as the trust has appointed them: a trust protector, a trust advisor or other individuals appointed by the trust. If no person has been appointed, the court will do so.
  • Individuals who are interested in the well-being of the animals covered by the trust can petition the court to remove a specifically appointed person and appoint a new person to enforce the trust terms.
  • The property held inside a pet trust may only be used as the trust intends it to be used, unless the trust property has a value that goes beyond its intended use. In such a case, the extra property will be distributed to the successors of the trust creator.

The primary reasons to contest a will

Just because a Tennessee resident appears to have signed and dated a will, it does not mean that the will is going to be valid. There are a lot of rules and regulations that go into the validation of a will, and there are many ways that such a document could be contested in court. Following are some of the primary reasons for contesting a will:

Lack of testamentary capacity: The primary factor in having "testamentary capacity." That refers to the legal grounds to draft and file a will, Was the person 18 years old at the time that he or she drafted the will in question? If the answer is yes, testamentary capacity is likely to exist. However, the adult might not have testamentary capacity if he or she was not mentally sound enough to understand the will in question at the time it was executed. In this respect, an individual could lose testamentary capacity if he or she was suffering from insanity, dementia, senility or some other condition that renders him or her mentally incapacitated.

5 estate planning steps you may want to consider

The baby boomer generation expects to leave approximately $30 trillion worth of inheritances to their millennial children over the course of the next three to four decades. If you're a baby boomer, you will no doubt be concerned that your small share of this wealth is appropriately transferred. In this respect, the following five estate planning strategies could assist you with your wealth transfer goals:

  • Make sure your kids know what they're getting: Your children might think they're going to inherit millions of dollars one day, when maybe they will only receive $100,000 each -- or much, much less. It's important to be open about your estate planning because: it will make sure they don't fight over your assets after you're gone and it will make sure the distribution of your estate goes as smoothly and successfully as possible.
  • Consider an equal distribution: You might not want to do it -- depending on your family dynamics -- but an equal distribution is the best way to keep your family together and prevent a will contest lawsuit or estate battle.
  • Don't leave things up to the honesty of one sibling: Make sure you phrase your estate documents to legally codify the distribution plan you have in mind. Trusting one sibling to honestly distribute your estate is a recipe for a family disaster.
  • Explain your reasoning: Whatever you choose, explain the "why" to your kids. Even if they don't agree, they will be more accepting and respectful of your choices. Try to explain your reasons before you die and include a note with your will to remind them.
  • Consider a trust: Trusts are very flexible documents and estate planners can attach specific guidelines and conditions to the money and assets they leave behind.

Although the $30 trillion baby boomer inheritance amount could change -- depending on advancements in healthcare and changes in the economy -- one thing is certain: As a nation, we're approaching a massive wealth transfer. If you want yours to happen smoothly, lawfully and according to your wishes, make sure you fully understand all of the estate planning options available to you.

Probate is not necessary: Here's some tips for avoiding it

Every asset left to a relative by way of a will needs to go through probate proceedings. This means that your relatives will have to weight to receive their inheritances. It also means that your relatives will be subject to time-consuming and often stressful legal proceedings.

However, you have other estate planning options available to you that could render probate entirely unnecessary for certain assets inside your estate plan. Trust planning for example, is an excellent way to revoke your ownership of certain assets so that a revocable living trust is the technical owner and the assets will be passed directly to heirs .

Being transparent with estate planning saves families

Countless Tennessee residents never take the time to create an estate plan, and it leaves their family in chaos after they're gone as potential heirs and relatives squabble over how the estate should be wrapped up and distributed. However, of the more responsible Tennessee residents who finalize their estate plans, it's surprising how many fail to take one vital step that can help ensure the peace and sanctity of their families after they're gone. This vital step involves being transparent with their plans.

The more transparent an estate planner is with his or her wills, trusts and other decisions -- particularly with regard to asset distribution -- the more likely his or her family will maintain good and loving relationships after the person passes away. The fact is, no matter what we might assume, our family members have ideas about what they're going to receive from us when we pass away. If these ideas are different from the actual plans we've set in place, it can create resentment, jealousy and feelings of unfairness. It can even cause some family members to distrust a will and suspect that it was not what their loved one actually intended.

Is a trust necessary to avoid taxes?

We work our entire lives to save money, build our estates and leave a legacy behind to our children. The thought that a massive chunk of our estate will get consumed by the government can be particularly troubling. As such, estate planning lawyers have devised a host of strategies that can help families reduce their estate tax burdens over the years. But are these strategies even necessary in 2018?

Inheritance and estate taxes are a valid concern for many Tennessee residents. However, for 98 percent of the American public estate taxes will be zero. Although complicated trust arrangements may have been necessary in the past to avoid estate taxes, in 2018, they will not be required for those who have estates valued at less than $11.2 million.

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