Most Spread Misconceptions About Estate Planning

The next beliefs are the most spread misconceptions about estate planning among Americans prior to speaking with attorneys knowledgeable about Tennessee probate law at Mckoon, Williams, Atchley & Stulce, PLLC.

My Children will be Happy to Inherit my House

Maybe yes, maybe no. Adult children are not as nostalgic about your house they grew up in as parents like to think. Most likely, the value of the house lies in your own interest and memories. Depending on the language in your will, the house may “go down like a rock” to the beneficiaries, that, after a restricted time when the estate can pay the bills, will after that use their own cash for maintenance, taxes, and insurance on the home. This is much more bothersome if a minor inherits an interest in real estate.

Only Wealthy People Need Trusts

Although rich people may use trusts more often than others, it doesn’t mean the trust is useless for you. A trust can provide the following benefits for individuals of any means:

  • Asset management during one’s lifetime, not only after death
  • Better management by successors in case of disability
  • Protection to beneficiaries (e.g. children, and so on) from their creditors, predators, or their own possible poor decision-making
  • Providing assets protection to a spouse that receives long-term care Medicaid
  • Enhancing the quality of life for people with disabilities
  • Providing for a surviving spouse while protecting assets of the children, particularly in a blended family members case
  • Personal privacy
  • Quicker sequence and also management after death
  • Reduced cost of administration after death
  • Not only children, but even a pet can get care after the owner’s death

For sure, there is no solution that will fit all situations. For that reason, there is a number of different trusts depending on your needs such as living Trusts, insurance Trusts, personal residence Trusts,
special needs trusts, and even dynasty trusts. To understand which one will work the best for you, contact our estate planning attorneys for a consultation.

I Don’t Want to Leave any kind of Assets to My Spouse

It is technically true that you can compose a will and disinherit your spouse. Nevertheless, you cannot efficiently disinherit your spouse without your partner’s approval.

You and your spouse can agree to disinherit each other by signing a prenuptial agreement or a post-nuptial marriage agreement which should be done in writing. If there are any kind of modifications or revocations after signing these documents, they should additionally be written in. The agreements don’t stop each spouse from leaving an inheritance to the other; instead, they prevent the disinherited spouse from making inheritance as well as other insurance claims and allocations that Tennessee law permits a surviving spouse to make. On the other hand, federal law requires your partner to consent if you do not call him or her as the 100% beneficiary of certain retirement plans.

Power of Attorney (POA) is Only About Tax Planning Gifting.

If authorized in the POA, the Agent might make gifts of the Principal’s (the individual who signed the POA) property. Many POAs reduce the gift amount to the “annual exclusion amount,” which is the maximum worth of gifts (currently $15,000) a person can offer every year to another person without reporting the gift to the IRS.

Tennessee law does not permit gifting if the POA doesn’t contain gifting authority. Gifting authority is restricted to the annual exclusion amount unless other limitations are offered. Although annual exclusion limits may cover most gifting circumstances, they nearly never ever cover gifting that may be necessary for asset protection objectives if long-term care is required.

For instance, if an elderly partner is not able to live safely in the house, nursing home care might be needed. If Medicaid care will cover just a part o the expenses, some of the spouses’ assets can be protected for use by the partner who stays at home. But moving assets from the sick partner’s name to the well spouse’s name is a gift. If the combined value of these gifts is higher than $15,000, and also the ill partner is incapable of making the gifts himself, after that a POA’s gifting authority that is restricted to the annual exclusion amount is insufficient and Court consent will be essential to make the gifts.

To gift, the gift giver should be competent, have provided adequate lawful authority in the POA, or the Court should authorize the gits.

Special Needs Children Must Be Disinherited to Protect their Benefits.

Disinheriting a child (or grandchild) with special needs is not required to protect his/her accessibility to needs-based benefits. Nor is it required (or sensible!) to rely on another beneficiary to “make right decisions” and use part of a now-larger inheritance to care for a disinherited child with special needs. Even if this person plans to do the best, unpredicted events can upend the most effective laid plans and leave the child with special needs without the anticipated additional help.

With correct planning, an inheritance can be left for the benefit of a recipient with unique needs in a manner that will improve the beneficiary’s lifestyle and provide enrichment that would certainly otherwise be limited or unavailable if the individual relies on federal government benefits alone.

Estate planning is a very complicated field. It requires knowledge of both federal and Tennessee laws, experience and ability to predict possible circumstances or consequences that may involve you and your closest people. Start thinking about your and your family’s future today – contact our attorneys to develop a strategy that will accomplish your estate planning goals.

Suspecting Embezzlement? Here’s What To Do

Embezzlement is the act of dishonestly withholding assets for the purpose of conversion (theft) of such assets, by one or more persons to whom the possessions were delegated, either to be held or to be utilized for specific functions. It is also a very serious allegation. You do not wish to charge somebody of embezzlement without being absolutely certain it is true.

If you think that someone in your firm, especially a supervisor or somebody in a placement of authority over you, is embezzling funds, there are a few points to remember before getting the phone and calling the authorities.


The preliminary response of someone experiencing a criminal offense is to call the police yet typically in an embezzlement instance that will certainly not get you anywhere but fired and it gives the implicated time to ruin evidence or cover their tracks. The police will usually not carry out an examination into the internal financial workings of a company. You will wish to do a few things to attempt to gather evidence of wrong doing.

Back up digital data

You don’t want a hard drive to comfortably crash when an internal examination is noticeable to the accused. Make sure that there are copies available and in a safe place.

Discretely call an attorney

Having someone take a look at the situation as well as the evidence in an objective way is extremely crucial. If the issue happens to be a bookkeeping mistake or other innocent blunder within the firm you have saved not only the track record of a person potentially being accused yet likewise your own as the accuser.

Do not confront the accused

You wish to see to it that you do not confront or otherwise hint the accused you are suspecting something. If you do talk to them regarding the problem see to it you are always in the visibility of others to ensure that you don’t get involved in a physical run-in or get accused of threatening or other harassment charges.

Discovering the holes

Doing a rigorous investigation of the probable embezzlement can reveal expensive errors in company policy or audit techniques. As stated above, the absent funds may be a result of mismanagement but not necessarily theft. Discovering these openings earlier rather than later on can enhance the profitability of your firm in the long run. Changing business policy regarding the checks and balances regarding funds may also prevent any type of embezzlement.

Next Steps

If it happens to be a significant quantity of money, you have evidence and know without the shade of a doubt that your employer is embezzling from the company you will wish to get in touch with the qualified attorneys.  You must be prepared to provide any evidence you have actually collected.

As an informer, you will want to make sure your civil rights are protected in an embezzlement situation and try to avoid any type of backlash by working with a knowledgeable attorney in white collar crimes. With a background in accounting and taxation, our attorneys at Mckoon, Williams, Atchley and Stulce PLLC are uniquely suited to handle white collar crimes, including financial fraud and embezzlement.

How To Include Unforeseen Site Conditions In Your Contract

Construction agreement definitions differ, yet generally an unforeseen site condition takes place when the owner as well as contractor at the time of the contract finalizing are unaware that the subsurface of a construction site has a physical property or does not have a physical property presumed to be existing.

For example, a physical object could be an old chemical tank underground, as well as an absent physical property could be soil that has the required load-bearing ability. Regardless of the type of project, subsurface problem clauses regularly top the list of the most important contract provisions and also the most usual root causes of construction disputes. The contract options to assign the danger are finite because there are just three scenarios readily available to the parties: the owner bears all subsurface condition risks, the contractor bears all the risks, or they share the risks together.


Although the owner is normally reluctant to bear all site risks, it does take place under particular situations. Examples include a construction supervisor job delivery method, a cost plus rates arrangement, an extremely short construction routine or a mindful choice that the owner makes to retain all subsurface condition risks in order to lower the contract price.

When the owner bears all the danger for site conditions, the construction agreement must clarify this with assumptions, inclusions and also exclusions. The contractor’s leaving out site investigations and responsibility for any and all subsurface problems that are known, unidentified, visible, not noticeable, direct or unforeseeable are instances of exemptions in the contract. The change-in-work section of the contract should reflect the site conditions risk allocation, entitling the contractor to a cost and schedule change order for remedying such conditions.


Design-build, EPC, construction manager at risk and also, in uncommon situations design-bid-build, are project delivery methods where the specialist is most likely to bear all site problem risks. The common denominators are a set price and a turnkey project. Here, the owner wants to pay a repaired or limited amount of money for the contractor to bear all site condition risks. For a design-bid-build delivery, the absence of a site condition provision could effectively shift all risks to the contractor for site conditions without the contractor meaning to bear those threats.

The construction agreement need to reflect this risk allocation with an exclusion that the proprietor bears no risks or costs related to an unpredicted or unknown site condition, absent misrepresentation, and also the contractor bears all site problem dangers– well-known, unknown, noticeable, not visible, foreseeable or unforeseeable. Besides giving that the contractor is not entitled to any kind of change orders associated with subsurface site problems, the contract must include language to the effect that the contractor has thoroughly explored the site. If, as is so frequently the case, the contractor can not execute an extensive examination as a result of time, cost or site area before signing the construction contract or sending a binding proposal, contingency money or an allowance in the contract rate for the site risk is standard.


The more typical circumstance is for the owner as well as contractor to share the subsurface condition risks; however, the parties might not consider several choices in the business offer and also contract negotiation. Increasingly, customized contracts and common type contracts  have a variety of site risk-sharing provisions. In fact, the expression “unforeseen site conditions” in the contract makes the most sense when the parties are sharing the site risk since if only one party bears all the risks, then actual site condition differences compared to assumed site conditions are irrelevant.

The good news is that shared danger allocation for subsurface conditions works with all project shipment techniques as well as contract prices kinds. When the parties share the site dangers, they can move a certain risk to the party best able to manage it. For example, the proprietor might have better expertise about a site that was purchased and cleared, or the contractor may much better understand the bad soil conditions in a certain region where he/she has actually constructed many jobs.

The very first contract option for sharing risk is transparent cost sharing. The parties split the expenses based upon a percentage (e.g., 60/40), a tiered model (e.g., the contractor bears the cost up to $20,000 and then the owner bears any type of extra expenses), or a GMP contract cost allowance with the unused balance refunded to the proprietor at the end of the project.

The second risk-sharing contract choice entails the parties’ decision of who is in charge of a specific subsurface danger. For example, the contractor bears the danger for a subsurface problem that is materially various from what is normally found in the geographical area or from what the proprietor’s geotechnical record determines.

In general, the only limitation the parties have in preparing a site conditions provision contract is their own imagination in crafting an unforeseen site conditions business deal. Though, legal assistance here is vital to guarantee that the contract will protect your interests and in any case.

Whether you are a general contractor, subcontractor, vendor, supplier, owner or developer, a construction law attorney from McKoon, Williams, Atchley & Stulce, PLLC will assist you in effectively and efficiently resolving your disputes. We can negotiate a contract, communicate your claims to the owner, developer or general contractor, assist you with being paid and much more. Don’t hesitate to contact us to get legal help you really need.

5 Legal Tips On Non-Disclosure Agreement

Because information as well as ideas are usually an business’s most important asset, additional steps must be taken to protect it.

Confidentiality and Non-Disclosure Agreements are essential agreements used to protect an individual or company’s sensitive information and proprietary ideas.

A Confidentiality Agreement, additionally known as an NDA, essentially acts as a document shield, preventing your company information from being revealed to your competitors. Though, its power derives entirely from its capability to make potential disclosers think twice prior to giving the game away. The clearly specified threat of severe legal action is usually enough to ruin the plans of a former employee, business partner or third party to use your proprietary information for personal gain.

Yet your confidentiality arrangement will just work as a deterrent if it’s composed and also executed effectively.

Here are 5 legal tips on NDA from McKoon, Williams, Atchley & Stulce, PLLC corporate lawyers. 

1. Don’t use template agreements from the Internet

Templates are fine, as long as you use them as just that: a template. The trouble with using templates is that lots of them on the Internet are generic and will likely fail to meet your requirements.

Your absolute top priority when drafting your confidentiality arrangement is to be specific and take into account the special aspects of the industry, deal, arrangements, and the needs of the parties involved.

You can also easily find a variety of NDAs online from huge companies as well as market leaders. Reading these examples can give you some  understanding of what believed leaders are doing to protect their work, which conditions you need to include, and also what language is being used by others in your job. McKoon, Williams, Atchley & Stulce, PLLC has rich experience of drawing up such agreements and will advise what else should be included.

2. Do not be ambiguous

Among the greatest mistakes is to compose your confidentiality agreement with language that’s overly broad or too vague.

If your agreement encounters scrutiny in court as a result of a violation, there’s a high risk that your arrangement will be considered to be “void for vagueness” if the used definitions are uncertain or vague thus making it impossible to follow its terms and conditions

3. Include Third Parties

One more typical omission is forgetting to include the third parties. Disclosing Parties are frequently so concentrated on protecting themselves from one of the most immediate hazard, that they neglect to look and take into consideration other parties who may be included.

For instance, your may be contracting with a programmer to assist get your new exclusive software program prepared for the general public market.

The programmer, the instant Recipient Party of your secret information, likely doesn’t function alone. The programmer may contract 3rd parties to perform part of their services.

If your Confidentiality Agreement does nothing to hold those people to confidential standards, then you risk leaving an open hole in your protection. Do include all involved.

4. Set a time frame

Another usual trap when it comes to NDAs is not setting a reasonable time frame for how long the duty of confidentiality must last.

Some entrepreneurs make the mistake of creating an unrealistic duration, while others fall short to include this detail completely.

The significance of this period is that it aids to establish a definitive obligation for the Recipient Party. Otherwise you risk having your NDA  nullified in court since it’s simply too unclear to be imposed.

Do be realistic. While you are justified in your intention to protect your information, you also have to be reasonable otherwise the Recipient Party might find no point in signing your agreement at all.

Bare in mind that some confidential information has a finite lifespan. Trade secrets must not.

5. Don’t delay signing

Some business owners feel uncomfortable broaching the topic of signing a confidentiality agreement while others take an even more careless attitude and wait until the discussion “gets more serious.”

The risk in waiting is that, for one, early conversations can easily include pieces of secret information. A discussion can quickly escalate, especially if the parties are eager or excited.

The last point you want is to stop a great exchange of your thoughts dead in its tracks since you understand you cannot say much words without revealing something important. Simply put, even if you didn’t intend on having a comprehensive discussion right away, it might easily happen in the heat of the moment.

It’s also crucial to bear in mind that anything you state, even in preliminary conversations, can be at risk to disclosure. So even if you seem like you’ve been very careful about what you say, there is a chance that the other party took something seemingly insignificant that you stated and ran with it.

Do sign a confidentiality arrangement upfront. While it may not be possible to learn about every conversation before it takes place, you reasonably know about vital conversations beforehand, especially with designers, staff members, potential business partners, etc.

McKoon, Williams, Atchley & Stulce, PLLC functions as “general counsel” to many clients offering legal advice that is driven by the needs and pace of business. Non-disclosure agreement is the document that can save your business and guarantee its top place in the industry. Legal help is vital here. Contact our corporate lawyers to draft the agreement that will protect your information.

Legal Ways To Divorce Quickly

When it is essential to divorce quickly, there are some legal ways to speed the process depending on the issues between the existing spouses such as child support and custody. If the two parties are on the same page, this can greatly influence the timeline along with using another form of divorce approach such as mediation.

Why Divorce Quickly?

When there are certain crucial aspects within the divorce itself, one or both parties may demand that the procedure finishes as quickly as possible. These factors often affect particular concerns such as the ownership of a business, child custody and also when one or both are leaving Tennessee or even the US. Some areas require the separating parties to stay in the location till the divorce is completed. Some custody matters entail others such as extended family or a foster treatment scenario. Speeding the divorce is important to fixing various issues between the marriage, in the household as well as with external elements.

Legal Costs

One reason to accelerate the divorce involves the expenses of legal assistance. When both parties require to retain a divorce lawyer, the costs might grow. If the two parties have any chance of settlement, the attorneys may still need to help along the procedure with mediation, arbitration or a lawsuit. Presenting the case to a court or the 3rd party frequently calls for the help or assistance of an attorney. With other expenses and fees added to the final amount, the difference between weeks and months of working together with an attorney is substantial.

Speeding up the Divorce

Reaching an agreement with the partner is generally the quickest way to speed the divorce to make sure that it does not take weeks or months to finish the procedure. This is additionally possible through mediation with an open dialogue as well as complete understanding of all the details such as custody, spousal support and the division of marital property. When both sides are absolutely ready for cooperation and compromise and all assets are open and disclosed, the process might go much faster.

Quick Divorces

The quickest divorces typically exist when they are both uncontested and no-fault.

The uncontested divorce is one of the primary means to move the divorce procedure along promptly. This is when one party does not contest the specific issues within the dissolution of the relationship such as taking on more liability or letting go of additional assets. When there is no competition within the divorce, the time used will reduce significantly. This likewise reduces prices with the legal representative and also before a judge.

The problems that are common within divorce usually do not appear in no-fault or uncontested divorces. Peaceful agreements with custody, visitation, support, division of property and debt and any other argument that may exist are reached much faster and with no headache. Yet, both will need to unentangle all lawful matters to include financial issues that may involve retirement accounts and life insurance policy plans on each other. When all material is available to include in a parenting plan, a settlement agreement and also specific Tennessee state items, the two may hire a family lawyer to continue via the divorce rapidly.

The Legal Assistance for a Quick Divorce

When divorcing in a short time, the person will require a family attorney to assist gather and present a case before a court or mediator. The agreement records and also conformity with the other partner might increase the speed of the divorce. The attorneys at McKoon, Williams, Atchley & Stanley, PLLC will do everything to finish your divorce case as soon as possible. Get in touch with us regarding options available for you.

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