Tuesday, 15 September 2015

It is not uncommon for client to contact our office in regards to being charged with a domestic assault.  In many instances the people are shocked by the fact they were charged with the crime of domestic assault and also shocked with some of the punishments for domestic assault.  Among other things, if you are convicted of Domestic Assault, it is very likely that you will be required to terminate your possession of firearms, as well as you could be sentenced to serve 11 months 29 days in jail. 

This is especially troublesome for the client when they enjoy the sport of hunting.  A Domestic Assault charge most of the time comes about when two people get in a scuffle where no one is seriously injured and a lot of times it is caused and initiated equally by both participants. 

The surprise of Domestic Assault charge, instead of a regular assault charge, comes about depending on who it involves.  Tennessee statutory law makes an assault between two individuals a Domestic assault when it involves: individuals who are current or former spouses (no surprise!); however, it also includes:  adults or minors who live together or who have lived together; adults or minors who are dating or have dated or who have had sexual relations with one another; adults or minors related by blood or adoption; adults or minors related or were formerly related by marriage; or adult or minor children of a person in a relationship described above.  

According to the law, almost everyone has been involved in domestic assaults by getting into scuffles as children with their siblings or other violations of the above list!  If you have been charged with a crime please contact us today.

Our law firm has successfully represented clients charged with Domestic Assault.  If you have been charged with a crime and need Lawyer to Represent You in a Criminal Law Case we can help! To Read More about our Criminal Litigation Services - Click Here




Posted on 09/15/2015 11:04 AM by Jonathan Tinsley
Thursday, 10 September 2015

I was thinking about the course of conversations with many estate planning clients.  One common theme occurred to me I spend some amount of time with every client explaining the basics of probate.  As lawyers, we admittedly can get bogged down in the intricacies of legal nuances, but most of the time, the basics are the most helpful. So, that's where we're going today.

What is Probate?

Probate is the legal process by which final claims against the decedent are settled and probate assets of a decedent are distributed.  As with any simplified definition, it is over-simplified, but it is a good starting point.  Probate is handled by the county in Tennessee wherein the decedent lived when he or she passed away.  Within that county, a specific court is designated to handle probate matters.  The name of the court varies slightly from county to county.  Ultimately though, all of the probate courts in Tennessee follow the same Tennessee law so the process is similar in each court.  Every probate will be slightly different because the facts will be different for each decedent. Was there a Will? Was there a Trust? Are minors involved? Are there any creditors of the estate? There are many variations on what probate can specifically entail.

What is a Probate Asset?

The definition of a "probate asset" is important for our understanding of the probate process since only probate assets are distributed through probate. (Yes, I used "probate" four times in one sentence.)  In the most basic definition, a probate asset is something that is owned individually by the decedent.  However, this definition has quite a few exceptions and additions.  It may be easier to define a "probate asset" by focusing on what it is not (the "non-probate assets"). 

It is not something that has a legally designated beneficiary.  The most common example of this is life insurance.  Life insurance usually has a designated beneficiary to whom the money will flow almost immediately upon a person's death.  The probate court does not consider this transfer except to note the amount of the life insurance that was passed.  One lesser known example is a payable on death (POD) beneficiary on a basic checking or savings account.  Most of the time, you can designate a POD beneficiary on your bank accounts that you own.  This will allow the bank to immediately transfer that account to your beneficiary upon your death, removing the bank account from probate. 

Assets that are owned jointly by spouses are also typically a non-probate asset.  Here, homes are commonly found.  A home that was bought by a married couple will automatically belong to the surviving spouse, individually.  A word of caution here if you are married be sure that both your name and your spouse's name are on the Deed! If the property is only titled in one spouse's name, this does not apply and the home would be a probate asset.

Hopefully this is a helpful (brief) explanation of probate and probate assets.  We would be glad to walk you through the process of discussing what probate would look like for your loved ones and strategize on how to ease that process.  Quite a few assets can be removed from your probate estate by simple changes.  We would be honored to show you how.     

Planning Your Estate can help prevent future difficulties for your family. To Read More about our Estate Planning Services - Click Here




Posted on 09/10/2015 10:46 AM by Erika Piland
Thursday, 03 September 2015

It is amazing how many people are charged with Driving Under the Influence (DUI) in the state of Tennessee.  Most of these people think they are okay to drive due to the amount they have had to drink, the amount they have eaten, or the amount of time that has passed since consuming alcohol. 

Many of our clients explain their exact situation to us, after being charged, and we are surprised at how high their blood alcohol levels are considering their circumstances.  Many people are also surprised to learn of the jail sentences associated with DUI and blood alcohol levels. 

In Tennessee, if you are convicted of a DUI, the law says that you must serve a minimum mandatory jail sentence of 48 hours, which must be served all at the same time.  This is the minimum sentence and a DUI offender can serve up to 11 months 29 days in jail for a first offense DUI, in addition to other punishments.  

On a first offense, if your blood alcohol level is above 0.20, which is surprisingly common, the mandatory minimum jail sentence goes up to seven days in jail which must all be served at the same time.  After your first offense DUI, if you are convicted of subsequent offenses, the mandatory minimums go up substantially thereafter.  It is not uncommon for second offense DUI offenders to serve anywhere from 45 days in jail to up to one year.  Third offenses can cost an offender 120 days in jail and up to one year. 

Our law firm has successfully represented clients charged with DUI.  If you have been charged with a crime and need Lawyer to Represent You in a Criminal Law Case we can help! To Read More about our Criminal Litigation Services - Click Here




Posted on 09/03/2015 9:43 AM by Jonathan Tinsley
Tuesday, 14 July 2015

I think I'll define a couple of important terms to begin.  When someone is said to die "testate," it means that this person has died with a valid Will.  You can probably guess what "intestate" means then dying without a valid Will.

There is myth that I hear often: if you die intestate, your property will naturally be distributed to the right people.  By "right people," they typically mean their family; and while the property of an intestate decedent is distributed to his or her heirs, you cannot end the conversation there.   Every state defines "heirs" as it sees fit.  The progression of your belongings in Tennessee might not be quite what you would expect. 

People usually make incorrect assumptions regarding the split of an estate between spouses and children.  Most think that if they pass away intestate, everything will suddenly belong to their spouses. That's simply not true if you have children.  If an intestate decedent is survived by a spouse only and no children, the surviving spouse will inherit everything.  However, if an intestate decedent is survived by a spouse and at least one child, the child and the spouse will both inherit some portion of the estate.  According to Tennessee law, if there is one surviving child, the spouse and the child will split the estate equally.  If there are two surviving children, the spouse and each child will inherit one-third of the estate.  If there are more than two surviving children, the spouse will inherit one-third and the children will split the remaining two-thirds of the estate.  Bottom line if you pass away and are survived by a spouse and at least one child, your spouse will not inherit your entire estate unless you create a Will stating so.  

To be sure that your property is distributed to the right people, you should have a Will that explicitly outlines your plan for the property.  Hopefully it is now clear that this is important even if you simply want everything to go to your spouse.  We would be glad to walk through this process with you.

Planning Your Estate can help prevent future difficulties for your family. To Read More about our Estate Planning Services - Click Here


Posted on 07/14/2015 11:33 AM by Erika Piland
Tuesday, 30 June 2015

When your parents pass away, life is difficult enough.  The last thing you want is to be stuck paying the mortgage on their house or risk foreclosure.  It is quite common to want to sell the home as soon as possible.  However, as many have found out the hard way, it's not exactly as simple as signing a contract.

From time to time I will see a real estate contract that the children of a deceased parent have signed to sell that parent's home.  Those children can often either point to a Will showing that they are inheriting the home or the Tennessee intestacy laws state that they are inheriting the home.  Either way, it seems clear that those children should have the power to sell the home.  Unfortunately, it's not that easy.

The best case scenario is that probate on the decedent's estate is complete and those who have inherited the house can sell it.  But I'm not talking about that situation.  I'm talking about the situation when probate has not been started or when probate is not complete.  Although the process for selling a home in those situations is not always identical, there are some common patterns.  For instance, it is quite likely that you will need to get court approval to sell the home if probate has begun.  Or, if you have not begun probate, you will probably have to open probate and then get approval from the court to sell.  You can almost guarantee that we will need consent from the Tennessee Department of Revenue to sell the home and a release of potential claims from the Bureau of TennCare.  If probate has not been completed, the best case scenario is that you can close on the home during the four month creditor's period in probate and closing agent will hold your proceeds in escrow until the completion of the creditor's period.

As you're probably realizing, this can quickly become a complicated process.   Also, I would not be doing my job if I did not mention that a Trust can avoid this.  If your property is held in a Trust, even a Revocable Living Trust, it will pass outside of probate because it does not belong to the decedent, it belongs to the Trust.  This simplifies the selling process immensely.  However, whether you have a Trust, a Will, or no Will at all, we are equipped to walk you through this process.

Planning Your Estate can help prevent future difficulties for your family. To Read More about our Estate Planning Services - Click Here




Posted on 06/30/2015 2:14 PM by Erika Piland
Tuesday, 16 June 2015

The great city of Nashville has recently shown an increase in population which is a sign of a growing economy. With new buildings continuously covering the city, Nashville has become a top destination of attraction and business. These are positive signs that the economy is thriving in the real estate world, which leads to a demand in both commercial and residential properties.

In order to take advantage of the real estate market, which has been on the rise for many years now, it is important to obtain the services of a real estate attorney so that you can legally protect yourself. Consulting with a real estate attorney provides many benefits to a successful transition. An attorney is able to create or evaluate an existing lease for the property that you currently own, or wish to own in the future. There can be many liabilities that are not known while being the owner of a property. In order to feel confident when you are going through a lease agreement, it is necessary to seek the guidance of a professional who can get the facts and provide the proper services.

There are a few policies that can protect you from any issues that may arise during the process of buying or selling a property. The first is for the owner to obtain owner's title insurance. This is necessary so an owner will be protected from any issues concerning the title of the property that may arise, and you will not have to solve those issues alone or out-of-pocket. The next is for a lender to also have title insurance. If the owner or lender has a title insurance policy, that is not enough to be protected. Both the owner and the lender must acquire title insurance so that you can be properly covered and not have to worry about any of the issues because you will be protected.

Our attorneys make this a peaceful process and assure that your interests will be protected. Let us take the stress off of you and eliminate any possible risks of liability. Have a professional help take you through the proper steps to be safe in your purchase or sale of property.

To learn more about how we can assist you with your Real Estate Law Services your can:



Posted on 06/16/2015 4:05 PM by Aaron Simonis
Tuesday, 09 June 2015

On September 29th, 2000, a young man from the Nashville community that was loved by many, passed away in a tragic accident on Tim's Ford Lake. Christopher Douglas Dowdle was a graduate of Brentwood Academy, and was well on his way to a degree from the University of Tennessee at Knoxville.

Since his unexpected death, friends and family have come together to put a golf tournament together annually so that they can keep his memory alive and share the special moments that were spent with Chris. The funds raised from this tournament are allocated to both Brentwood Academy and The University of Tennessee in the form of a scholarship for prospective students at each institution.

As active board members of the annual Strokes and Streams Invitational held at the prominent Brentwood County Club, myself, Todd A. Tressler, II, and a great friend of mine, Austin Kemp, are leading our yearly effort to obtain tournament sponsorship.


Todd A. Tressler, Junior Board Member

To Make A Donation or Take Part in the Benefit DOWNLOAD INVITATION & SPONSORSHIP FORM


Posted on 06/09/2015 3:29 PM by Todd Tressler
Wednesday, 03 June 2015

Are you currently buying or selling a home? Have you have ever purchased or sold a home? If so you have probably considered owner's title insurance. There are a lot of questions people have regarding this insurance policy, but among the greatest is, "Do I really need this?"   This is a completely reasonable question.  No one wants to pay for something unnecessary.

At its most basic level, owner's title insurance protects a property owner from the consequences of a claim on the title of the property.  Most people assume this means that you are protecting yourself from someone approaching you and saying, "Hey, this is my house!"  And although that is true, if that were the primary case, this would seem rather silly because that is such an outlandish thought.  A claim would likely appear in a different form.  Most claims are almost completely out of the purchaser's control.

For example, human error is an ever present risk.  Of course, businesses strive to do their best, but we are human and we err.  From the surveyor's measurements of the property to the title search to the recording of liens, there is room for mistake.  And of course, there is always a possibility of fraud.  Has someone intentionally not conveyed their marital interest?  Have IDs been forged?  Subject to certain limitations, owner's title insurance protects homeowners from these types of risks.

It is also important to note that if there is a title issue, you will probably not be able to sell your property until that issue is resolved.  If you do not have title insurance, you will have to resolve that problem out-of-pocket.

Keep in mind that even though your lender obtained a lender's title insurance policy at closing, that does not mean that you are covered.  A lender's policy only covers the lender.

Owner's title insurance is a one-time payment at closing and one of the cheapest types of insurance you will find.  Because of the broad protection that it supplies, we recommend all property owners obtain owner's title insurance.

To learn more about how we can assist you with your Real Estate Law Services your can:


Posted on 06/03/2015 1:00 PM by Erika Piland
Friday, 29 May 2015

Tressler & Associates, Law Firm, is committed to supporting our communities and our youth, after all, they are our future.  This year we are delighted to have the opportunity to sponsor and support two rising leaders from Blackman High School, to attend Boy's and Girl's State this summer. 

"The American Legion Boys State and American Legion Auxiliary Girl's State are premier programs for teaching how government works while developing leadership skills & an appreciation for your rights as a citizen. As a participant in the program you, will run for office, learn public speaking, create and enforce laws and actively participate in all phases of creating and running a working government in this exciting and fun summer program".

During this week long program, Daniel and Jeanette will have the opportunity to meet and develop lifelong friendships with other public service enthusiast and driven young leaders from all across the state, that will help to shape the future of our communities for years to come. 

Daniel is a bright 11th grade student from Puerto Rico, who has exemplified exceptional people skills making leadership a natural fit.  Daniel's father serves as an analyst for the United Nations.  The Boy's State will be held at Tennessee Tech University beginning May 23rd.

Jeanette is also an exceptional junior at Blackman, holding an impressive 4.0 grade average.  She has proven to be very intuitive in group situations making her a great leader.  Girl's State will be held this year at Lipscomb University also beginning May 23rd

We are very proud to support these two young leaders, and know their futures in leadership will make our communities continue to thrive!  Congratulations Daniel and Jeanette!  We wish you both the best of luck, and we thank you for your passion and dedication to public service. 

You can learn more about this amazing opportunity for our communities young leaders at

Posted on 05/29/2015 3:18 PM by Todd Tressler
Thursday, 14 May 2015

Think about a married couple.  When the first spouse dies, often the vast majority of assets are titled in both of their names.  Therefore, everything passes to the surviving spouse without probate.  However, what if the deceased spouse owned a piece of land with which the other spouse has never had any involvement.  What if the only thing that needs to be distributed in a decedent's estate is real estate?  Do you have to go through the entire probate process?  Can you just sign some type of Deed?  Short answer to those questions: No and no.  Thankfully, in Tennessee we have a procedure that is specifically designed to deal with transferring real estate from a decedent's name into the correct beneficiary's name.  It is called Probate for Muniment of Title.

This type of limited probate process is basically three steps, but there are some important keys to remember.  Probate of any type is much simpler when there is an original will.  Therefore, you would start by locating the original will and an original death certificate.  Once you have located those and determined that the only asset to be distributed is real estate, you would contact an attorney (at Tressler & Associates, of course) to take you through the Muniment of Title procedures.  We would start the process by filing a Petition for Muniment of Title with the Probate Court's office and a hearing would be set.  Notice would be sent to all beneficiaries and heirs-at-law that this hearing is occurring.  Assuming all goes according to plan, the Judge will sign the Order at the hearing.  Once the Order is signed, it will be recorded at the Register of Deeds.  This recording will serve as evidence of the transfer of title. 

Although probate in Tennessee is a relatively streamlined process, we are thankful that there is an even more streamlined process for this particular issue.  Should you need assistance in transferring real estate out of a decedent's name, please give us a call and we will be glad to help.

Planning Your Estate can help prevent future difficulties for your family. To Read More about our Estate Planning Services - Click Here



Posted on 05/14/2015 2:32 PM by Erika Piland
Thursday, 07 May 2015

I doubt that any client has ever asked me about who will handle their non-financial online accounts after they pass away.  However, it is a real question and concern.  Wouldn't you like to designate now who will be able to manage your social media accounts after you die?   Facebook led the charge in this endeavor a couple of months ago.  As you'll see, their approach is not perfect, but it's a start.

A legacy contact will not have the ability to access, delete, or add to your account in any way in which they choose.  In fact, there are very limited allowances for a Legacy Contact.  First, before a Legacy Contact is allowed to do anything, your account must be memorialized, which will freeze all actions on your account except what the Legacy Contact has the ability to do. 

A Legacy Contact can do:

  1. Write a "pinned post" for your profile.  This would share a final message and/or funeral information.
  2. Respond to pending friend requests.
  3. Update your profile picture and/or cover picture.

Like I said, the powers of a Legacy Contact are limited, but useful.  Your Legacy Contact cannot delete those embarrassing pictures so you still need to be careful what is posted.  Here is a list that Facebook supplies of what

A Legacy Contact cannot do:

  1. Log into your account
  2. Read messages you've sent to other friends
  3. Remove any of your friends.
  4. Remove or change past posts, photos and other things shared on your Timeline

Another important note is that you must be an adult (at least 18 years old) to designate a Legacy Contact under Facebook's current policies. To See Facebook's Instructions on Legacy Contacts Click Here

We have yet to see if other social media outlets (Twitter, Instagram, etc.) will accept similar policies.  Even though Instagram is owned by Facebook, it also does not seem as though this policy applies to Instagram.  Currently, Instagram and Twitter have relatively cumbersome processes to prove the death of an account user in order to delete the account.  However, the process is purposefully cumbersome to prevent account tampering. 

Although we do not know what other social media sites will do, it is quite likely that Facebook has set a trend in this direction. 

There are many considerations for Planning Your Estate and new digital issues such as these are just another layer. Taking care of legal issues can ensure your wishes are met after your death and will help your loved ones tremendously during those difficult times. Our team can guide you through the process and help secure your peace of mind.



Posted on 05/07/2015 1:33 PM by Erika Piland
Tuesday, 14 April 2015
On Saturday, April 25th we will be throwing our 3rd Annual Crawfish Boil and we would love to have you join us! Our yearly cajun affair is an event that allows us to say THANK YOU to our clients, partners and friends for your business and support that has contributed to our successes over the past 5 years!

When: Saturday April 25th - Rain or Shine! (We have tents.)
What Time: 2:00pm - 6:00pm
Where: Our Lebanon Office - Click Here for Directions
Are You Feeding Me: Yep! Crawfish, Cajun Food and BBQ
If I am Thirsty: We will have Sweet Tea & Beer

We have live music from The Roadhouse Roosters for your enjoyment, a bouncy house for the kiddos and a hefty helping of merriment! 
As they say down in Cajun Land - "laissez les bons temps rouler!" - LET THE GOOD TIMES ROLLWe can't wait to see you!

Please RSVP here: 

* We have deals on hotel rooms for out-of-towners. Click Here for details
* We have a shuttle set up from down town Nashville - Click Here for details

Shuttle Service

Grand Avenue Limo Bus will Shuttle guests from Nashville to Lebanon.  We really encourage our Nashville area guest to utilize this option.
Pick up location will be in front of the main entrance of the Music City Center, Downtown Nashville - Map
1st Shuttle will leave at 2:00pm
2nd Shuttle will leave at 3:15pm
1st Return Shuttle will leave at 4:30pm
Last Return Shuttle will leave at 5:30pm

Hotels - Ask for the Tressler Crawfish Boil Rate.

La Quinta Inn
Roshan Patel
140 Dixie Avenue
Lebanon, TN 37090
If you have any questions at all please let us know. Call 615-444-2345 or Email Us: 
Posted on 04/14/2015 9:01 AM by Todd Tressler
Thursday, 09 April 2015

Revising your Will or other estate documents might not be on the top of your "to do" list, but maybe it should.  Here is a quick guide to 5 times when you should review your estate documents:

1. You have moved. 

It may go without saying, but laws change from state to state.  In a recent blog article, I discussed the importance of updating estate documents when you move. (New to Town)

2. Someone had a baby.

If someone in your family (yourself included) has had a baby, you definitely need to take a look at your estate documents.  If a new grand-child has been born, you want to be sure your documents still describe exactly how you would like for your estate to be distributed.  Tennessee law makes provisions for children who are born after their parents execute a Will (pretermitted children), however, there is a good chance that those provisions are not exactly in line with your wishes. 

3. Someone dies.

Just as it is important to take a look at your documents when someone is born, it is important to take a look when someone passes away.  Most documents have "contingent beneficiaries" of some kind, which makes provisions for what will happen if someone dies.  Although, as soon as one of those beneficiaries passes away, there is no longer a contingent beneficiary and you probably need a new one.

4. Someone gets married or divorced.

It is true that there are provisions in Tennessee law to prevent an ex-spouse from obtaining all assets when one ex-spouse passes away, but that law does not apply to all estate documents.For example, you may have a trust set-up in case any minor grand-children were to inherit.Who is named as Trustee?If your child gets divorced, will his or her ex-spouse still be involved in your estate plan?The same is true in marriage.You want to be sure that the right people are involved in your estate plan.

5. There is a change in assets.

Whether you gain assets or lose assets, your plan should reflect this change.  This is especially true for specific bequests.  If you leave your '75 Chevy to your friend Steve, but you did not own a '75 Chevy at the time of your death, Steve will not get anything. 

This list is just the beginning.  We can think of many circumstances after which you should review your estate documents, but here are 5 with which you can start.

To learn more about how we can assist you in Estate Planning or if you have any questions about this or any other legal matters Call Us: 615 444 2345 or Contact Us Here

Posted on 04/09/2015 11:58 AM by Erika Piland
Tuesday, 31 March 2015

I recently spent some time in Florida.  Amidst the beautiful, blue skies, I also learned about a lot of Florida laws.  Although I am not licensed in Florida and I cannot give legal advice on Florida law, I can say that I was amazed that the differences between Tennessee and Florida.  Being from the Sunshine State, I travel frequently between Nashville and Florida.  Until this trip, I had never thought about how I am stepping into an entirely different set of laws by which I must abide when my plane crosses the Tennessee border.  However, the truth is, no two states are alike in their laws.  Don't misunderstand me, of course there are many similarities, but state laws also vary greatly.  

So, were you born in Tennessee or did you move here during your adult life?  For many Tennesseans, especially those in Nashville and surrounding areas, the answer would be the latter option.  Middle Tennessee has experienced incredible growth during the past couple of decades.  Considering that growth, I ask those who fall in that second category, have you had all of your legal documents reviewed since moving to Tennessee?

It is for this reason that it is important to have any legal documents re-evaluated when you move.  Maybe all of your documents will be in line with Tennessee law, but if they are not, you need to know.  Bring in those old Wills, Trusts, business documents, or whatever else might be hiding in your filing cabinet, and we will gladly take a look.  We would love the opportunity to then advise you on what steps are necessary, if any, to bring those documents in line with Tennessee law.

To learn more about how we can assist you in Contract Law or if you have any questions about this or any other legal matters Call Us: 615.444.2345 or Contact Us Here

Posted on 03/31/2015 12:42 PM by Erika Piland
Friday, 13 March 2015

Please join us Friday March 13th as we celebrate an exciting milestone for our firm when we cut the ribbon and open the doors to our brand new office in Mt. Juliet!

Ribbon Cutting with Mt. Juliet Chamber of Commerce:  4:00pm
Open House until 6:00

1400 North Mt. Juliet Rd. Suite 204 Click Here for Map
Mt. Juliet, TN 37122

We are excited about this new chapter for our law firm. We will be supporting Mt. Juliet and the surrounding areas with all our Legal Services. Please be sure to contact us if you need assistance with any legal matter.

You can learn more and contact us for each of our service areas here.

Or feel free to Call Us 615.622.2909 or Email Us Here

Posted on 03/13/2015 9:14 AM by Todd Tressler
Wednesday, 25 February 2015

The majority of individuals know, if you are arrested for a crime, you are entitled to have a bond set in most instances.  This bond will allow you to be released from jail pending your trial or the disposition of your case.  This is one of our constitutional rights as citizens of the State of Tennessee. BUT what if you are arrested for a crime, released on bail, and before your case is disposed of you are charged with a new crime?  Are you allowed to obtain a new bond for the new charge? 

                This matter comes up on a surprising regular basis.  There is no question that your current bond can be revoked for picking up a new charge.  What we are talking about here is a court denying a criminal defendant a new bond for the additional charge and then holding them there without bail.  The state legislature ATTEMPTED to address this very issue when they passed a law effective in 2012, which is still on the books.  The law says a court may deny you an additional bond when you commit a crime while out on bond for the other crime.  The statute reads in pertinent part…

Tenn. Code Ann. § 40-11-141

"(b) If after the defendant is released upon personal recognizance, an unsecured personal appearance bond, or any other bond approved by the court, the defendant violates a condition of release, is charged with an offense committed during the defendant's release, or engages in conduct which results in the obstruction of the orderly and expeditious progress of the trial or other proceedings, then the court may revoke and terminate the defendant's bond and order the defendant held without bail pending trial or without release during trial."

                Is this statute passed by the legislature constitutional?  According to a recent Tennessee Criminal Court of Appeals case, this law does not pass constitutional muster and is currently considered unconstitutional.  The case of State of Tennessee v. Burgins (No. E2014-02110-CCA-R8-CO, Dec. 3, 2014) points out, that Article I, Section 15 of the Tennessee Constitution clearly states "that all prisoners be bailable by sufficient sureties, unless for capital offenses" and only for capital offenses "when the proof is evident, or the presumption is great."  (A capital offense being one in which the punishment is the death penalty.)  This is the plain meaning of our constitution and according to the referenced case, the portion of the law allowing a court to deny a defendant's bond is unconstitutional except in capital cases and should not be followed by the courts.  Therefore, in most cases, you are still entitled to a bond to be set, even if charged with a new crime while out on bail for a previous crime.   

To learn more about how we can assist you in a Criminal Litigation issue Contact Us Here or Call Us 615.444.2345

Posted on 02/25/2015 3:24 PM by Jonathan Tinsley
Thursday, 19 February 2015

In a recent blog, I discussed the 2015 Federal and Tennessee Estate Taxes.  A common follow-up question to that discussion sounds something like, "My assets are nowhere near $5,000,000.00 so why do I need any help with planning my estate?"

The answer is two-fold:

1) Tax laws are not written in stone!

Our laws change constantly and our government is always in flux.  I am thankful that we live in a country where we are represented by the people of our choosing, but that means that "the people of our choosing" change every year.  We do not know who will be in power or what agendas will become important in the future.  We can only live in 2015.  That being said, it is not difficult to see how tax laws affecting Tennesseans could change.  It could suddenly become the law that all estates are subject to taxes (thankfully, this is not the current trend).

2) Estate Planning is much more than just taxes. 

Estate planning is more than tax law.  In fact, I would say that with the majority of our clients, other topics are of greater concern.  For example, making sure the correct people have control over assets or determining who will be the decision-maker are more important than estate taxes to many people.  Also, privacy or creating a process that will be simple for loved ones are both common goals.  There are many reasons that an estate planning attorney can be helpful, whether taxes are of concern or not.  Just about everyone can benefit from some estate planning.

To learn more about how we can assist you in Estate Planning or if you have any questions about this or any other legal matters Call Us:  or Contact Us Here

Posted on 02/19/2015 1:40 PM by Erika Piland
Friday, 13 February 2015

A new year brings new taxes.  Fortunately for Tennesseans, in the area of estate tax, this means less taxes for 2015.

To give a brief review of 2014 estate taxes, an estate could be worth $2,000,000.00 and not be taxed by the state of Tennessee.  Federally, an estate could be worth $5,340,000.00 and not be taxed by the federal government.  Although many estates clearly would not have been taxed in 2014, even fewer will be taxed in 2015.

As of January 1, 2015, in Tennessee, an estate can now be worth $5,000,000.00 and not be taxed.  The federal maximum for a tax-free estate has also increased; it is now $5,430,000.00.  Even better news is that in 2016, Tennessee will cease having an estate tax.  This creates a desirable environment for those entertaining the idea of Tennessee as a location in which to retire.

Although these numbers seems unattainably high to most Tennesseans, these amounts are the finale to a long road of decreasing estate taxes.  In 1999, for example, an estate over $650,000.00 was taxed in Tennessee.  A plan was subsequently put in place to slowly phase out the estate tax, with 2015 being the final year.  The federal government has not given any indication that it intends to demolish its estate tax, however, the maximum is set to increase for inflation.  We can only hope that our state and federal government continue these trends.

If you are asking "My assets are nowhere near $5,000,000.00 so why do I need any help with planning my estate?" - I will answer that question next week!

To learn more about how we can assist you in Estate Planning or if you have any questions about this or any other legal matters Call Us: 615.444.2345 or Contact Us Here


Posted on 02/13/2015 3:30 PM by Erika Piland
Thursday, 05 February 2015

We created this short promo video and wanted to share with you all. We are diligently working to provide the best customer experience for our clients. We take great care in ensuring we serve you the best we can. We are excited to be expanding our locations in the near future and being a part of the Mt. Juliet community. We have many wonderful clients spread throughout Nashville and all of Middle Tennessee. Its a community we love to be able to support and serve. We continue to grow and it's all thanks to you. If you have any questions about how we can assist you with your Real Estate or Business Law needs we have a team ready to assist you. Our services expand further than that, and if you need a lawyer, chances are we can help you. Check out our website to find out more.

Posted on 02/05/2015 2:35 PM by Todd Tressler
Tuesday, 03 February 2015

A Durable Power of Attorney for Healthcare, or sometimes called a Healthcare Power of Attorney (HCPOA), is an important document for everyone to have. The specific reasons for having an HCPOA will change throughout life, but the general idea remains the same.  The purpose of an HCPOA is two-fold: it allows you to name one or more persons to have access to your medical records and it allows you to give that person or those people the power to make medical decisions for you when you are not able. Consider these scenarios.

                Jared and Mia Part 1: Jared and Mia are engaged. Mia is in a car accident. Mia is alive, but unresponsive. The hospital will not be able to give Jared information about Mia's condition without Mia's consent. Because Mia is unresponsive, this means and Jared will anxiously wonder what is happening until he is able to work through the HIPPA requirements with the hospital. If Mia had an HCPOA naming Jared as her "attorney-in-fact" or "agent" he would have had access to her medical files and the doctors could inform him as to all that is happening. This scenario would be the same with a parent and an adult child. Even between two spouses, the process of the hospital being about to release information would be expedited if there is an HCPOA.

                Jared and Mia Part 2: Now the hospital is wanting to perform procedures that could potentially prolong her life, but Jared knows Mia would not want done. Unfortunately, Jared has no power to make those decisions for her. If Mia had an HCPOA, Jared would have the power to act as her agent and make decisions for her medical treatment that are within any guidelines she had set.

                Keep in mind that an HCPOA only comes into play when you are unable to make the decisions for yourself; so these people will only have these powers if you become incapacitated or unresponsive. As long as you are able to consent or deny informed consent, you will be the one choosing what is done medically for yourself. However, should you become incapacitated, this is an extremely useful document. Remember to update your HCPOA regularly so that the best person is named as your agent. Although we dread to think of the times when this document would be used, in a world of few promises, it is best to be prepared.

To learn more about how we can assist you in Estate Planning or if you have any questions about this or any other legal matters Call Us: 615.444.2345 or Contact Us Here

Posted on 02/03/2015 1:03 PM by Erika Piland
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