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Common issues related to deceptive trade practices

A business is only as good as the service or product that it puts forth for consumers to utilize. In Tennessee, many individuals take pride in the quality of the goods and services that they offer to members of the community. When their standards are threatened by deceptive trade practices and other potentially fraudulent business practices, their reputations and livelihoods can be put at risk.

Deceptive trade practices are a collection of wrongful actions that can harm business entities. They involve dishonesty and perpetuating fraud on consumers and other business partners. This post will discuss some of the deceptive trade practices that the state of Tennessee recognizes, but as with all business law matters readers should speak with their attorneys about their concerns.

Make sure you have contingencies in your real estate contract

House hunting can be an arduous process. Like many other Tennessee homebuyers, you may look at dozens of houses before finding the one that you want. Once you do, you may be excited and anxious to get the deal closed so that you can move into your new home.

More than likely, you were told that several crucial steps must take place before the deal can close. One of the first critical steps in any real estate transaction is the completion of the purchase and sale contract. The contingencies you put into this agreement could get you into your new home without issue or could leave you with a home you don't really want.

Sound advice for estate disputes and probate challenges

One of the most common reasons that individuals create their personal estate plans is to take the guesswork out of how they want their assets and property distributed upon their deaths. Wills, trusts and other important testamentary tools may be executed to explain Tennessee residents' preferences for how they want their wealth given out and who they want in charge of the administration of their estates. However, even a good estate plan can be questioned by heirs and beneficiaries, and when that happens a decedent's estate may be subject to challenges while in probate.

Probate is the process wherein a person's assets are collected and passed out according to their wishes and the laws of the state. When individuals disagree with how certain assets will be distributed, they may claim that problems exist in how the decedent's will was prepared or executed, or that the decedent was not of sound mind when they signed it.

Why might a will be challenged after a person's death?

As readers of this Tennessee legal blog know, having an up-to-date estate plan is an excellent idea for anyone who wants to have control over the disposition of their assets when they pass on. As a prior post on this blog noted, those who die without estate plans may see their wealth and assets distributed based upon the state's laws of intestacy and those laws may not always coincide with the desires of individuals. An estate plan can help individuals protect their wishes for how they desire to see their estates' distributed.

However, in some cases, even individuals who take the time for estate planning will experience problems with the distributions of their estates after their deaths. This is particularly true when the decedents' heirs elect to challenge their wills and to attempt to have testamentary documents set aside. This post will examine some of the reasons that wills may be challenged after their creators' deaths.

The process of working through a business merger

A start-up or other small business can be a source of pride for a Tennessee resident. They may pour their blood, sweat and tears into their enterprise to make it successful and may endure personal sacrifices along the way to ensure its continuing viability. While some businesses close within their first few months or years, others withstand the test of time and push into the future.

Closing and staying open are not always the only options businesses have for their futures, though. They may find that other entities are interested in joining with or acquiring them, and this can lead to the business's merger with another. This post will provide very general information about what happens when businesses merge, but as with all complex business law issues readers are advised to seek their own advice regarding their own legal needs.

How can zoning impact a property owner's use of their land?

It can take years for a Tennessee resident to locate the right piece of land on which to build their home or business. After carefully assessing parcel after parcel, an individual may finally come across the perfect spot on which to build. Before they sign on the dotted line and purchase the tract that they believe will become the home to their real estate dream, they should first ensure that the parcel is zoned appropriately for their intended use.

Zoning is the practice of assigning appropriate uses to different areas of land. For example, a city may zone outlying areas for industrial and agricultural use while zoning city centered areas for residential and commercial uses. The idea behind zoning is that similarly used tracts will be located near each other and therefore be less likely to affect each other's usages.

What do I have to tell a buyer about my home?

Selling a home is a stressful venture. You may have much to lose if you cannot find a buyer in a timely manner, so you want to take whatever steps are necessary to improve the chances of attracting and keeping a buyer. This may include applying a new coat of paint, removing clutter from the rooms and improving the curb appeal of your home.

No matter how attractive you make your home for potential buyers, you may still be aware of issues that may discourage someone from making an offer. Your fear of losing a buyer may cause you to cover these defects and keep quiet about them until you sell the house. However, that may be a serious and costly mistake.

Options for keeping assets out of probate

If a Tennessee resident dies without having any estate planning tools in place, some or all of their assets may pass into the probate courts of the state. During the probate process, the assets of the decedent are located, debts are paid and distribution is made based on certain laws and procedural requirements. Though probate is intended to allow for the orderly distribution of assets to heirs after a death, it can be time consuming, costly and can dwindle the wealth of an estate.

Therefore, many people try to keep as much of their property out of probate as they can. This can be accomplished in many different ways depending upon the types of assets the individuals possess.

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.

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