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Is a Conservator or Guardian Required to File an Inventory of the Property After a Conservatorship or Guardianship is Approved in Tennessee?

Posted on Feb 24 2014 11:14AM by Attorney, Jason A. Lee

A fiduciary (usually a conservator or guardian) who is responsible to manage the property of a minor or disabled person, is required to file an inventory with the court within 60 days after their appointment as a fiduciary.  T.C.A. § 34-1-110(a) provides as follows:


(a) If the fiduciary is to manage the property of the minor or person with a disability, within sixty (60) days after appointment, the fiduciary shall file a sworn inventory containing a list of the property of the minor or person with a disability, together with the approximate fair market value of each property and a list of the source, amount and frequency of each item of income, pension, social security benefit or other revenue. If the required information was included in the petition but not separately stated as an inventory, the inventory shall repeat the information provided in the petition and add any later discovered property or income sources.


It is very important for this inventory to be completed.  T.C.A. § 34-1-110(b) provides the court with the ability to hold the conservator or guardian in contempt of court if they fail to comply.  Additionally, under T.C.A. § 34-1-110(c) the court may enter an order revoking the fiduciary’s authority and appointing a substitute fiduciary.  If you have been appointed as a conservator or guardian in...

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TAGS: Tennessee Conservatorship Comments [0]

Tennessee and Federal Estate Tax – Are Revocable Living Trusts Included in the Taxable Estate of a Tennessee Decedent?

Posted on Feb 16 2014 11:30PM by Attorney, Jason A. Lee

A question that is often asked is whether putting money in a revocable or living trust somehow excludes that money from the taxable estate for Tennessee or Federal Inheritance tax purposes.  T.C.A. § 67-8-307 provides that trust property is included in the taxable estate when the decedent reserves the right to revoke, alter or amend the trust so the decedent could retain the property (basically any revocable or living trust).  As a result, property in revocable or living trusts is generally considered to be included in the estate of the decreased for purpose of Tennessee Inheritance Tax purposes (as well as Federal Estate tax purposes).  T.C.A. § 67-8-307 provides as follows:


The gross estate of a resident shall include property specified in § 67-8-303(a)(1), and the gross estate of a nonresident shall include property specified in § 67-8-303(a)(2) transferred by the decedent by deed of trust in which the decedent reserved to the decedent, alone or in conjunction with others, powers of revocation, alteration or amendment, upon the exercise of which such property would revert to the decedent, to the extent of the value of such property subject to such powers and with respect to which such powers remained unexercised.


You should be very skeptical of any revocable or living trust product that claims to remove the property from the taxable estate.  Additionally, keep in mind that in Tennessee the Inheritance Tax will be abolished effective January 1, 2016.  Further the exemption for the Federal Estate tax is currently at $5,340,000.00 so very few people in fact actually need to worry about Federal Estate tax.  Fear of this tax often drives people to complicated trust products or expensive estate tax avoidance packages, however, this is usually unnecessary when simplicity would be the better path to take, when all things are considered.  I preach simplicity in Tennessee estate planning because often people do not follow through with the more complicated product designs and 99% (or more) of the population simply does not need complicated estate planning techniques.


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TAGS: Tennessee Inheritance Tax, Taxes, Federal Estate Tax Comments [0]

Newly Released 2013 Tennessee Probate and Conservatorship Case Filing Statistics

Posted on Feb 9 2014 10:30PM by Attorney, Jason A. Lee

Newly released statistics on the number of Tennessee Probate and Conservatorship cases filed each year show that annual filings of Probate and Trust matters are increasing on a consistent basis.  Conservatorship matters, on the other hand, remain at a pretty consistent level over the last 6 years.  The Tennessee Judiciary recently published their annual report providing statistics on case filings and other important Tennessee legal system information.  This new report covers fiscal year 2012-2013 (July 1, 2012 – June 30, 2013) and is the most recent report available.    


The total number of Probate and Trust case filings in Tennessee courts from 2007 to 2013 are as follows:


            2007-2008                                                                     11,875

            2008-2009                                                                     11,785

            2009-2010                                                                     12,246

            2010-2011             &n...

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TAGS: Tennessee Conservatorship, Tennessee Probate Law Comments [0]

Who Pays for the Fees and Costs for the Appointment of a Conservator or Guardian Under Tennessee law?

Posted on Feb 4 2014 11:17PM by Attorney, Jason A. Lee

T.C.A. § 34-1-114 provides that if a fiduciary (Conservator or Guardian) is appointed by the Court then the cost of the proceedings including court costs, guardian ad litem fee, required medical examination costs and attorney’s fees can be charged against the property of the respondent.  The respondent is the person who is the “person with disability” or minor that is subject to the conservatorship or guardianship.  The term “disabled person” is defined in T.C.A. § 34-1-101 as follows:


(13) “Person with a disability” means any person eighteen (18) years of age or older determined by the court to be in need of partial or full supervision, protection, and assistance by reason of mental illness, physical illness or injury, developmental disability, or other mental or physical incapacity;


If no fiduciary is appointed (in other words if the court rejects the petition for a conservatorship or guardianship) then the cost of the proceeding will be charged against the party that petitioned the court for the appointment of a conservator or guardian. 


T.C.A. § 34-1-114 provides as follows:


(a) The costs of the proceedings, which are the court costs, the guardian ad litem fee and expenses incurred by the guardian ad litem in conducting the required investigations, the required medical examination costs, and the attorney's fee for the petitioner, may, in the court's discretion, be charged against the property of the respondent to the extent the respondent's property exceeds the supplemental security income eligibility limit, or to the petitioner or any other party, or partially to any one or more of them as determined in the court's discretion. In exercising its discretion to charge some or all of the costs against the respondent's property, the fact a conservator is appointed or wou...

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TAGS: Tennessee Conservatorship, Guardian Ad Litem Comments [0]

Jason A. Lee is a Member of Burrow Lee, PLLC. Contact Jason at 615-540-1004 or jlee@burrowlee.com for an initial consultation on wills estate planning and probate issues.

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Tennessee Wills and Estates Blog
Jason A. Lee, Member of Burrow Lee, PLLC
611 Commerce Street, Suite 2603
Nashville, TN 37203
Phone: 615-540-1004
E-mail: jlee@burrowlee.com