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2015 Probate & Estate Planning Conference for Tennessee Attorneys - Materials Only

2015 Probate & Estate Planning Conference for Tennessee Attorneys - Materials Only

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2015 Probate & Estate Planning Conference for Tennessee Attorneys - Materials Only

Held in Nashville: Thursday and Friday, October 22-23, 2015

Order your materials from this information-packed conference!

The Probate & Estate Planning Conference for Tennessee Attorneys packed two days with some of the state’s top estate planning and probate practitioners, who delivered critical guidance on the hottest topics and some of the most complex issues you’ll face. Your distinguished faculty explained the very latest developments and strategies:

  • Advanced estate planning tips
  • Checklists with trust drafting tips
  • Estate planning with trusts
  • Will drafting tips – planning opportunities and challenges for 2015 and beyond
  • Planning for digital assets
  • Revocable trusts versus traditional will
  • Planning for a gradual transfer of land within the family
  • Features of properly designed grantor trust for Medicaid and veteran’s planning
  • Minimizing fees and costs by utilizing alternatives to probate
  • Estate planning using retirement assets
  • Strategies for resolving TennCare claims
  • Trusts, estate planning, and probate update
  • Tips for practicing in probate court
  • Ethical issues arising in estate planning and estate administration, such as client confidentiality, billing inquiries, and other difficult-to-resolve dilemmas
  • Sample forms and checklists




  • Rebecca Blair, The Blair Law Firm, Brentwood
  • Julie A. Boswell, Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell & Berkowitz, PC, Nashville
  • Jennifer Surber, Surber, Asher, Surber & Moushon, PLLC, Nashville
  • Harlan Dodson, Dodson, Parker, Behm & Capparella P.C., Nashville
  • Donald J. Farinato, Hodges, Doughty & Carson, PLLC, Knoxville
  • David Heller, Martin Heller Potempa & Sheppard, Nashville
  • Steve McDaniel, Wyatt Tarrant & Combs LLP, Memphis
  • John McDonald, Evans, Jones & Reynolds, PC, Nashville
  • Hunter R. Mobley, Howard Mobley Hayes & Gontarek, PLLC, Nashville
  • Jeff Mobley, Howard Mobley Hayes & Gontarek, PLLC, Nashville
  • Joel D. Roettger, Gentry, Tipton & McLemore, P.C., Knoxville
  • Stacy Roettger, The Trust Company of Knoxville, Knoxville
  • Brian S. Shelton, Bradley Arant Boult Cummings LLP, Nashville
  • Alexander M. Taylor, Kennerly Montgomery & Finley, P.C., Knoxville
  • M. Matthew Thornton, Bourland, Heflin, Alvarez, Minor & Matthews, PLC, Memphis


Order your materials from this 2-day satisfaction-guaranteed event and enhance you professional skill set.

Your Conference Faculty

BlairRebecca Blair, founder of The Blair Law Firm in Brentwood, has developed an immensely diverse practice in 17 years. She has substantial experience in many aspects of civil litigation, including tort law, insurance coverage litigation, business litigation, and probate litigation. She is listed as a Rule 31 General Civil mediator. She was voted one of the Top 50 Women Lawyers in the Mid-South in 2012 by Mid-South Super Lawyers/Memphis Magazine. She was also elected to Best Lawyers in America® in 2012 for her work in Business Litigation. Ms. Blair has been elected by her peers as a Mid-South Super Lawyer in the area of Plaintiff’s Personal Injury Litigation every year since 2009. She is a past president of the Tennessee Lawyers’ Association for Women, a past board member of the Nashville Bar Association and a past chair of the Bench Bar Committee of the Tennessee Judicial Conference.


BoswellJulie A. Boswell, with Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell & Berkowitz PC in Nashville, is of counsel in the Firm's Tax Group, focusing her practice in the areas of federal taxation, estate planning and administration, mergers and acquisitions, and general corporate matters. Ms. Boswell previously served as law clerk to the Honorable Mary Ann Cohen of the U.S. Tax Court in Washington, D.C. She assists taxpayers with audit matters before the Internal Revenue Service, provides clients with estate planning, including wills, trusts, powers of attorneys, health care directives and other planning tools such as creating family-owned entities, and she assists individual and corporate executors with the administration of estates. Ms. Boswell has been listed since 2012 in The Best Lawyers in America® in the areas of Trusts and Estates, Tax Law, Corporate Law, and Closely Held Companies and Family Businesses Law. She was named the 2014 Nashville Corporate Law "Lawyer of the Year" in The Best Lawyers in America®  and was named a "Rising Star" in Mid-South Super Lawyers, 2008 – 2011.


DodsonHarlan Dodson, with Dodson Parker Behm and Capparella PC in Nashville, has been helping people and businesses solve problems and plan for the future for more than 40 years. Clients seeking general business advice, estate planning services, or representation in litigation count on his vast experience and track record of getting the job done. Mr. Dodson provides hands-on guidance for his clients, whether working with them to launch a business, structure a complex real estate deal, or draft a will. Upon graduation from Vanderbilt University, he joined his father’s firm, Hooker, Keeble, Dodson & Harris. In 1985, he founded Dodson & Associates, and the firm merged with Shipley & Behm in 1988. He is a frequent speaker and writer on business entities, and especially limited liability companies, as well as on wills and estate planning. He has taught Estate Planning at the Nashville School of Law since 1975, where he was presented with the Distinguished Faculty Award in 2007. He has also served as Adjunct Professor of Law at Vanderbilt University. He is the editor to the West Publishing Company’s Tennessee Practice Series volumes on business formation and estate planning. Additionally, he continues to be a lecturer for the bar review company BAR-BRI on wills and estates. He is the author of Introduction to Estate Planning and Administration in Tennessee, the definitive textbook on the subject matter.


FarinatoDonald J. Farinato, with Hodges, Doughty & Carson, PLLC in Knoxville, is a frequent lecturer at estate planning and administration seminars. He was the Tennessee Bar Association’s Section Chair for Estate Planning and Probate for 2012-13. He previously served as its Vice Chair during 2011-12. He is a member of the Knoxville, Tennessee, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and American Bar Associations. He is a member of the Work/Life Balance Committee of the Knoxville Bar Association and the Estate Planning and Probate Executive Committee of the Tennessee Bar Association. He received the 2011 annual Advocacy Award from Legal Aid of East Tennessee for his extraordinary work on a Pro Bono Project file. He is admitted to practice in Tennessee, Massachusetts and New Hampshire.



HellerDavid Heller, with Martin Heller Potempa & Sheppard in Nashville, focuses his  practice focuses on family wealth preservation, which includes estate planning, estate tax planning, and asset protection planning. Mr. Heller helps clients and their families create plans to protect the family wealth from “outsiders” such as creditors, ex-spouses and divorcing in-laws. Additionally, he advises clients on reducing their potential estate tax liability. Many of his plans combine asset protection planning, estate tax savings and planning for the family’s future generation. He also advises families with business succession issues, pre-marital agreements and charitable planning. As an extension of his estate planning practice, Mr. Heller also handles the probate and administration of estates and trusts after an individual’s death and represents beneficiaries when controversies arise between family members. He can also help with conservatorship and guardian issues if a person becomes incapacitated. He is often a featured speaker at numerous seminars and teaches estate planning at various CLE courses. Mr. Heller graduated from Carnegie-Mellon University in 1984 with a double major in Information Systems and Math. He received his JD with cum laude distinction from Widener University School of Law in 1994 and an LL.M. Masters in Tax Law, with honors, from Georgetown University in 1995.


McDanielStephen McDaniel, with Wyatt Tarrant & Combs LLP in Memphis, is a member of the firm’s Trusts, Estates & Personal Planning Service Team.  He concentrates his practice in the areas of estate, charitable and business continuation planning, and probate and trust administration. He has also been certified by the Tennessee Supreme Court Alternative Dispute Resolution Commission as a Rule 31 Listed Mediator in the field of General Civil Mediation. He was named in the Top 100 Estate Planning Attorneys by Worth Magazine and has been listed in Woodward/White's The Best Lawyers in America® in the areas of Litigation - Trusts & Estates and Trusts & Estates since 2007. He was named 2014 Trusts and Estates “Lawyer of the Year” by Best Lawyers®-Memphis and was named one of the Top 150 Attorneys in the State of Tennessee by Business Tennessee Magazine.



McDonaldJohn McDonald, with Evans, Jones & Reynolds PC in Nashville, practices extensively in the areas of taxation and business and estate planning. He advises businesses owners on succession planning and general business matters, assists individuals in the areas of estate planning, income tax planning, premarital planning, and asset protection planning. represents estates in administration, including preparation of estate, inheritance, gift and other fiduciary tax returns. represents individuals and businesses in resolving controversies concerning federal, state, and local taxation, and assists clients in forming and advising public charities and private foundations. Prior to joining Evans, Jones & Reynolds PC, Mr. McDonald practiced law at the firm of Stites & Harbison, PLLC. In addition to his legal experience, Mr. McDonald has worked in the financial arena. He worked as a stockbroker from 1996 to 1997, and he was a trust officer with Bradford Trust Company, from 2000 to 2001, also in Nashville. Mr. McDonald was named a “Rising Star” in Tax and Estate Planning in the 2012 edition of Mid-South Super Lawyers, and he was listed in the 2013 edition of Mid-South Super Lawyers in Tax.


MobleyHunter R. Mobley is Of Counsel at Howard Mobley Hayes & Gontarek PLLC and concentrates his practice in the areas of estate planning, estate administration and charitable organization law. In addition to estate planning for individuals and families, he advises churches, non-profits, and foundations in connection with tax planning, tax disputes and organizational governance. He is an adjunct professor at Belmont University’s College of Law. He frequently speaks on issues related to estate planning and charitable planning. He received an LL.M in Taxation from New York University, a J.D. from the University of Kentucky and a B.S. from Davidson College.



MobleyJeff Mobley, a member of Howard Mobley Hayes & Gontarek PLLC in Nashville, concentrates his practice in the areas of estate planning, tax planning for estates and trusts, business succession planning, prenuptial and postnuptial agreements, estate administration, resolution of disputes involving estates, and related real estate matters. He is certified as an Estate Planning Specialist. He is listed in Best Lawyers in America® (2001-2014 editions) and Mid-South Super Lawyers (2005-2013 editions). He is a Fellow in the American College of Trust and Estate Counsel. He has served as President of the Nashville Estate Planning Council and as Chair of the Probate Court Committee of the Nashville Bar Association, and currently serves on the Board of Directors of the Nashville Bar Association. He is a co-author of Pritchard on the Laws of Wills and Administration of Estates (7th Ed. 2009). He is an adjunct professor at Belmont University’s College of Law.


RoettgerJoel D. Roettger is a shareholder with Gentry, Tipton & McLemore P.C. in Knoxville. He represents individuals, fiduciaries, entities, and charities in the areas of estate planning, estate administration/probate, trust law, taxation, business succession planning, tax-exemption issues and charitable giving. He frequently speaks to professionals and lay groups on issues related to estate planning and estate administration. He has been certified as an Estate Planning Law Specialist by the Estate Law Specialist Board since 2013. He was named a “Rising Star” by Mid-South Super Lawyers in 2009, 2010, 2011, and 2012. He has been named a Top Attorney by Cityview Magazine the areas of Estate Planning, Taxation, and Wills/Probate since 2010.



RoettgerStacy Roettger is the Senior Vice President of Personal Trust at The Trust Company of Knoxville. She has 15 years of experience in business and individual tax planning, focusing on gift, estate, and generation-skipping transfer tax planning. She earned her JD degree, with honors from University of Tennessee. Ms. Roettger received her Master of Laws in Taxation from New York University and her BA in English with highest honors from the University of Tennessee.




SheltonBrian S. Shelton, with Bradley Arant Boult Cummings LLP in Nashville, focuses his practice in the areas of estate and trust planning, estate and trust administration, tax implications during business formation, and strategies for tax exempt organizations. He was named a “Rising Star” in Mid-South Super Lawyers, Estate & Probate, 2014. In the trust and estates arena, he advises individuals and families in structuring their estate plans to meet their financial goals, preserve family wealth and minimize taxes and personal representatives and trustees in the probate, estate and trust administration process. He also represents clients in the business formation process such structuring limited liability companies, partnerships and corporations; advising businesses with respect to tax and business matters; and implementing partnership and limited liability company transactions, including mergers and acquisitions. He has experience advising clients with respect to tax and other economic incentives in Tennessee including Payments In Lieu of Tax Agreements (PILOT). He deals with issues involving federal tax exemption associated with nonprofit entities as well as state and local tax planning and controversy matters. Mr. Shelton received his JD degree from the University of Memphis School of Law, and he holds an advanced degree in taxation from the University of Florida.


SurberJennifer Surber, with Surber, Asher, Surber & Moushon, PLLC in Nashville, began her law career in Dallas, Texas, in private practice focusing on civil litigation.  Her career continued in Nashville as an attorney for the Metropolitan Department of Law for Nashville and Davidson County, where she maintained a litigation practice in both federal and state court.  She also regularly advised numerous departments within the Metropolitan Government on a vast array of legal issues. Ms. Surber has concentrated her practice in probate law since 2004.  She served as counsel to the  Probate Court for Nashville and Davidson County for ten years, re-entered private practice in 2013, and co-founded Surber, Asher, Surber & Moushon in 2015. Ms. Surber also served as Special Probate Master for the Seventh Circuit Court of Nashville and Davidson County in 2013, hearing and deciding matters involving the probating of wills, the administration of intestate estates, and small estates. Ms. Surber now focuses on assisting clients with planning for the distribution of assets at death through wills, planning for potential incapacity or disability through powers of attorney, planning for end of life and life sustaining decisions through advance care plans, mediating disputes in will contests, trust litigation, accounting issues, breach of fiduciary duty matters, and other estate disputes, establishing guardianships for estates and other needs of minors, establishing conservatorships for incapacitated or disabled adults, representation of court appointed conservators, and the administration of estates. She is a Rule 31 Listed Mediator.


TaylorAlexander M. Taylor, with Kennerly Montgomery & Finley P.C. in Knoxville, was a tax lawyer with the Chief Counsel’s Office for the Internal Revenue Service in Washington, D.C., from 1970 to 1974.  His law practice concentrates on estate planning, probate, general tax issues, and elder law.  He is a graduate of the University of Tennessee Law School (J.D. 1970) and George Washington University (L.L.M. in Taxation, 1974).  Mr. Taylor is a member of Knoxville Bar Association, Tennessee Bar Associations (member of estate planning and elder law sections), the National Association of Estate Planning Attorneys (Board Member), the Knoxville Estate Planning Council (Past President) and the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys.  He is an Estate Planning Law Specialist certified by the National Association of Estate Planners and Councils.  He is also authorized to represent veterans and their families before the United States Veterans Administration.


ThrontonMatthew Thornton, with Bourland, Heflin, Alvarez, Minor & Matthews PLC in Memphis, concentrates his practice of law in the areas of probate and estate law and residential real estate. In addition, drawing upon his generalist experience and mediation training, Mr. Thornton is a Tennessee Supreme Court Rule 31 Listed Mediator. He has successfully represented clients in negotiating disputes and in arbitration and civil trials when negotiation fails to achieve the desired client results. He serves on the Executive Council of the Tennessee Bar Association’s Estate Planning & Probate Section and its legislative subcommittee, where he has been an active participant in the shaping of new developments relating to estate law.




Thursday, October 22 (Day 1):

8:00 a.m. to 9:00 a.m.: Planning Opportunities & Challenges
Harlan Dodson
Dodson, Parker, Behm & Capparella, PC

Mr. Dodson will offer tips and strategies for drafting wills in 2015 and beyond.

  • Special provisions for wills and trusts
  • Planning for flexibility
  • Portability of the federal exemptions
  • Key federal tax provisions
  • Checklist for provisions in a will today

9:00 a.m. to 10:30 a.m.: Ethical Issues Facing Trust & Estate Planning Attorneys Today
Donald J. Farinato
Hodges, Doughty & Carson, PLLC

Mr. Farinato will walk you through many of the most common ethical issues facing trust and estate planning attorneys today, including issues that arise when dealing with conservators and guardians ad litem.

10:30 a.m. to 10:45 a.m.: Morning Break

10:45 a.m. to 12:15 p.m.: Estate Planning with Trusts in Tennessee
Jeff Mobley & Hunter Mobley
Howard Mobley Hayes & Gontarek, PLLC'

Trusts are powerful tools that can be used to achieve specific estate planning goals, regardless of the size of your client’s estate. Over the past several years Tennessee has enacted cutting-edge legislation regarding Tennessee trust laws, including several important changes in the past couple of years. This presentation will discuss these legislative changes and the use of trusts in estate planning.

12:15 p.m. to 1:30 p.m.: Lunch (on your own)

1:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m.: Probate Practice and Other Issues
Jennifer Surber
Surber, Asher, Surber & Moushon, PLLC

  • How to prepare for probate court
  • Basic principles for trying a conservatorship case
  • Opening up and administering the intestate estate
  • Handling a testate estate

2:30 p.m. to 3:00 p.m.: Estate Planning: Planning for Digital Assets
Donald J. Farinato
Hodges, Doughty & Carson, PLLC

Considering how much information we keep on computers and on the internet, estate planning just is not complete without including digital assets and social media accounts.

Mr. Farinato will provide an overview of how attorneys can assist clients in planning for digital assets. You’ll learn: What are digital assets, the different kinds of digital assets, and why this is a problem for fiduciaries.

3:00 p.m. to 3:15 p.m.: Afternoon Break

3:15 p.m. to 4:15 p.m.: Hot Topics in Estate Planning
Julie A. Boswell, Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell & Berkowitz, PC
Brian S. Shelton, Bradley Arant Boult Cummings, LLP

Explore the differences between a revocable trust (sometimes called a living trust) and a traditional will as a decedent’s primary testamentary instrument. Learn about decision points in drafting testamentary instruments, such as the use of institutional versus individual fiduciaries.

4:15 p.m. to 5:15 p.m.: Probate Litigation Case Law and Legislative Update
Rebecca Blair
The Blair Law Firm
Ms. Blair will walk you through some of the most significant cases and legislative changes from the past year.


Friday, October 23 (Day 2):

8:00 a.m. to 9:00 a.m.: When the Estate Consists Solely, or Almost Entirely, of Real Property
John McDonald
Evans, Jones & Reynolds, PC

  • Planning for a gradual transfer within the family
  • The drawbacks of successive life estates
  • Farm lease agreement
  • Planning for a full or partial outright sale or gift
  • Non-tax estate planning considerations
  • Income and gift tax planning
  • Farm ownership versus right to use

9:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m.: Qualifying for TennCare and VA Benefits: Use of Irrevocable Trusts
Alexander M. Taylor
Kennerly Montgomery & Finley, P.C.

  • Protecting a client’s home from Medicaid estate recovery
  • Long term Medicaid planning
  • Disadvantages of outright gift
  • Irrevocable grantor trust to the rescue
  • Features of a properly designed grantor trust for Medicaid and veteran’s planning

10:00 a.m. to 10:15 a.m.: Morning Break

10:15 a.m. to 11:15 a.m.: Alternatives to Full Probate Administration
M. Matthew Thornton
Bourland, Heflin, Alvarez, Minor & Matthews, PLC

Mr. Thornton will walk you through some alternatives to full probate administration and will offer tips on minimizing the fees and costs that often mount up during the probate of an estate and will show you how to utilize alternatives to opening an estate.

11:15 a.m. to 12:15 p.m.: Estate Planning: Retirement Assets
Joel D. Roettger
Gentry, Tipton & McLemore, P.C.
Stacy Roettger
The Trust Company of Knoxville

Let Joel and Stacy Roettger walk you through estate planning obstacles and opportunities that arise when retirement assets comprise a significant portion of a client’s estate.

12:15 p.m. to 1:30 p.m.: Lunch (on your own)

1:30 p.m. to 3:00 p.m.: Ethics for Estate Planning and Estate Administration
Steve McDaniel
Wyatt Tarrant & Combs LLP

Attorneys implementing estate plans and administering those plans often face numerous ethical issues, such as joint representation, client confidentiality, client competence, and billing inquiries. This ethics presentation will explore many of the difficult-to-resolve dilemmas faced by trusts and estates attorneys.

3:00 p.m. to 3:15 p.m.: Afternoon Break

3:15 p.m. to 4:15 p.m.: Preservation of Assets: Trust Drafting Tips
David Heller
Martin Heller Potempa & Sheppard

Mr. Heller will offer tips on how to protect a client’s assets through the use of various trusts.

  • How trusts can protect a client’s assets from creditors, from a divorce, and from a future spouse
  • Revocable living trusts
    • Credit shelter trusts
    • Marital deduction trusts
    • QTIPs
    • Drafting tips and samples
  • Grantor trusts
    • Types of grantor trusts
    • Funding the grantor trust
    • Provisions triggering grantor trust status
    • Drafting tips and samples

4:15 p.m. to 5:15 p.m.: The Tanner Decision: Its Impact Lives On
M. Matthew Thornton
Bourland, Heflin, Alvarez, Minor & Matthews, PLC

In 2009, the Tennessee Supreme Court, in In re Tanner, 295 S.W.3d 610 (Tenn. 2009), sought to settle the issue of whether the Bureau of TennCare is barred from filing a claim against a decedent’s estate for recovery of TennCare Medicaid benefits where the claim is filed more than one year after the decedent’s date of death. Tanner and its progeny can still “burn” the unsuspecting probate practitioner today, five years after the opinion’s release. Mr. Thornton will provide you with a synopsis of the appellate rulings regarding TennCare claims against decedent’s estates and strategies for resolving TennCare claims.


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