Wills – Good and Bad

Published November 2, 2012
United Methodist Foundation for the Tennessee and Memphis Conferences

Where is the Missing Will?

More than 40 wills were submitted to the probate court, with a multitude of potential heirs each claiming to be the true recipient of a wealthy business owner who passed away in 1976. With a $2.5 billion estate at stake, there was an intense interest in the decision of the court.

After extensive review of the 40 documents, the court finally determined that none of the 40 wills were valid. Because there was no valid will, the court divided the $2.5 billion estate among 22 relatives. Court costs, attorney costs, and estate taxes were enormous, but the 22 heirs still each received millions of dollars.

 Why is a Will Important?

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Separate & Joint Property

Published September 14, 2012
United Methodist Foundation for the Tennessee and Memphis Conferences

“My brother Pete and I own a ranch together,” said Joe to his advisor. “Our mother deeded the four sections of her ranch to us with right of survivorship. As a single person, I think that I will plan to leave 50% of my share to Pete and the other half to my favorite charity. Of course, if Pete dies, he is married and probably wants to leave his share to his spouse and children.”

Do Pete and Joe need to review their estate plans? Yes! These two rancher brothers held title as joint tenants with right of survivorship. If the single brother (Joe) were to pass away, Pete would inherit his brother’s half of the ranch. Even though Joe stated that half of his share should go to his favorite charity, nothing will be given to charity.

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Your Plan for Senior Care

Published August 17, 2012
United Methodist Foundation for the Tennessee and Memphis Conferences

Planning for retirement and senior care is a very important activity. The activities of daily living for a senior person include eating, dressing, bathing, and walking or moving. At some point you will likely need assistance in one or more areas.

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Identifying and Avoiding Caregiver Burnout

By: Henry C. Weatherby, Esq., CLU, ChFC, CEBS

Many of our clients are caring for or being cared for by a loved one. More than 65 million Americans care for family members who need assistance due to chronic conditions, disabilities, disease, or the frailties of old age. These millions of family caregivers may include spouses, parents, or children of the person receiving care. Even when family members are not providing direct care themselves, they are often still the ones who arrange for and manage the care their loved ones need. These people are still part of the caregiving team and share in the emotional and financial stresses that can result from being a caregiver. Caregivers are often so focused on the needs of the person for whom they are caring that they forget to care for themselves. This puts them at risk for caregiver burnout.

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Long-Term Care Insurance Now Available Through Harwell & Plant

Paul B. Plant
Harwell & Plant
National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys

When I first started practicing law about 40 years ago, my late father-in-law and senior partner, Judge W. A. “Bud” Harwell offered Mike Bottoms and me a lot of good advice. Possibly the best advice he ever offered to us was that no matter how hard we tried we would be unable to do all things for all people. He did tell us, however, that that if we worked hard and conducted ourselves as the professionals he wanted us to be, we could create a network of relationships that would offer us services and skill sets far beyond what we could acquire on our own.

I am most gratified to say that throughout my career as a practicing attorney, I have done my best to create those relationships. I’ve been blessed with a vast number of friends and colleagues in and around the legal profession on whom I have called any number of times to assist me in meeting the needs of my clients. I am pleased to say I believe I have done that once more.

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