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What is intestacy and how might it affect your estate plan?

A person's family tree can have many branches that reach far and wide into the world. While some of their close family may live near them in Tennessee, they may have cousins, grandparents, and even more distant relations that spread across the rest of the country and even across oceans. Not everyone is close to their relatives, though, and not everyone wants to benefit their distant relations through the execution of their estate plan.

When a person makes an estate plan, they have the ability to identify who will be their beneficiaries and who may be excluded from taking from their end-of-life estate. If that person died without a plan, though, there would be no documentation to direct how and where their assets should be sent. When a person dies without a will, they are considered to have died intestate, and their estates will pass through the laws of intestacy.

Disinheriting a child without fear of a challenge

Not every family has the makings of a charming holiday movie. In many homes, adult children become estranged from their parents for various reasons. This may include a simple parting of philosophies or a serious breach of trust. If your family is in this situation, you know that it can be difficult, and you may have tried numerous paths to reconciliation.

Nonetheless, if you are making your estate plan, the problem of dealing with your estranged child may weigh heavily on you. After much consideration, you may have decided that it is best to exclude your child from your estate plan. However, disinheriting a child is not as simple as omitting his or her name from the will. In fact, if you take this route, you may be leaving the rest of your family to deal with a complex legal battle.

Dealing with fraud when negotiating business agreements

Contracts are important documents for most Tennessee businesses. Through contracts, a business can hire new employees, retain the services of vendors, buy supplies and inventory, and acquire new capital to grow. The strength of a contract often resides in the planning that took place before it was executed, because problems in contracts can lead to disputes and litigation later on between the parties.

One issue that can arise in a business contract is an allegation of fraudulent misrepresentation. Fraudulent misrepresentation is a form of fraud that involves basing a contract on false information or omissions. For example, if a party to a contract knowingly misleads the other party and entices them into entering into an agreement, fraudulent misrepresentation may be alleged in a later legal proceeding.

What is the difference between a foreclosure and a short sale?

Taking on a mortgage is a big commitment in the life of a Tennessee resident. Unlike paying rent, a person who secures a mortgage for the purchase of a home is often committed into a long-term, sometimes multiple decades-long contract to pay off their loan. When circumstances arise and the person cannot make their mortgage payments they may face challenges from their mortgage holder and threats of foreclosure on their loan.

Foreclosure is the process of a bank or other lender reclaiming a home from a borrower who has defaulted on their payments. When a person secures a loan to buy a house their lender effectively purchases the property and then allows the individual to repay them over time and with interest until the full amount of the home loan is satisfied. The failure of the individual to make full and complete payments can force a lender to take back the home and resell it to recoup their losses.

What assets avoid probate?

After a person dies, their estate goes into probate. That means the court will make sure that a will is valid or, if there is no will, someone is appointed executor of the estate to pay bills, taxes and distribute the state’s assets.

Not all estates have to go through probate, however.

Take proactive steps to avoid an estate administration nightmare

Contests over wills and other estate planning documents can tie estates up for years and can cause irreparable rifts between members of a decedent's family. Although it may be impossible to satisfy every possible beneficiaries' wishes in the creation of a personal estate plan, Tennessee residents can take certain steps to minimize the chances of having their testamentary documents contested after their deaths.

One way that estate planners can avoid estate administration conflict is by making their documents clear and explicit. For example, if a person wants to give two of their children less in the way of inheritances than they do for their third child, they should make clear why they are allowing the one to receive a greater share of their estate in their estate planning documents. Clarity can explain an estate planner's choices and can make it easier for beneficiaries to accept outcomes they may not like.

Avoid business litigation with a strong business contract

Tennessee businesses and corporations enter into agreements each and every day to preserve their operations and to help themselves stay competitive in their markets. A business that does not grow is a business that may not survive, and to this end it can be of supreme importance that a business gets what it needs on time and without delay. Having a strong contract in place can be a good way to avoid conflicts later on that can cause a business to suffer.

A contract is an agreement made between two or more parties for the exchange of goods or services. Negotiations for a contract begin when one party offers another something. The recipient of the offer may accept it, reject it, or counter-offer the offer's claims with a modified offer. This process can go back and forth for some time until the parties arrive on terms they can both benefit from.

Theodore Goodman recognized as a Tennessee Attorney for Justice

Attorney4justice 2018 - small.jpgThe honor roll has just been released for the fifth annual Tennessee Supreme Court's "Attorneys for Justice" pro bono service award, and Murfree & Goodman's own Ted Goodman has been named a 2018 honoree.

The program is an effort by the Tennessee Supreme Court to encourage more lawyers and law offices to provide pro bono legal services for people who cannot afford them. The court honors lawyers who provide a minimum of 50 hours of pro bono services each year. The court's goal is for 50 percent of attorneys and firms to meet this goal.

Residential lease basics and what should be included

When negotiating a residential lease, it is important to know what to consider and what to include. Because a lease agreement outlines the relationship between a landlord and the tenant, it is helpful to be familiar with the residential leasing process and what should be included in a lease.

To begin with, when negotiating lease terms, the landlord will likely want all of the adult tenants to sign the lease and will want to make sure to be aware of all the adults that will be living in the property. The lease should also define any limits of occupancy. In addition, the amount of rent due, when it is due and if there are any fees for paying rent late should also be specified in the lease terms. Any deposits or fees that are required should also be specified in the lease.

Understanding types of easements in Tennessee

In real estate, an easement gives an individual or company the right to use some of your land for designated purposes. It’s important outline an easement in the property deed. However, disagreements about easements are not uncommon. This can result in inconvenient disputes and lengthy lawsuits.

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