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Recent Changes to Trust and Estate Laws in Tennessee


In May, Governor Lee signed two new bills which made several changes to Tennessee law in the areas of wills, estates, and trusts. Some key changes are outlined in this article.

Proposed Rules on Faith-Based Social Services


Nine federal agencies recently proposed rules that aim to clarify the rights and responsibilities of faith-based and community social service organizations receiving Federal funds. In this month’s KM Church Law Newsletter, Michael R. Crowder discusses the substance of these proposed rules, the background behind the rules, and any recent developments.

Registering Trade and Service Marks in Tennessee: A Brief How-to Filing Guide


Trademarks are important to protecting and preserving the brands and reputations of businesses ranging from small start-ups to established multinational companies. State and federal trademark registration help protect marks by providing statutory protections on top of established common law rights. In this article, Zack R. Gardner and Prof. Brian Krumm (University of Tennessee College of Law) briefly discuss trademarks and provide a how-to practitioners guide to state and federal trademark registration.

What The NLRB Thinks About Your Employee Handbook


The National Labor Relations Board’s General Counsel recently released important guidance on employee handbook provisions that have been found unlawful. Ben D. Cunningham’s memo discusses the General Counsel’s guidance and its implications for all private employers.

An Introduction to the Ministerial Exception


The ministerial exception prevents the application of anti-discrimination laws to the employment relationship between religious institutions and their ministerial employees. In this month’s KM Church Law Newsletter, Michael R. Crowder and Zack R. Gardner discuss generally the background behind the ministerial exception, recent developments to the doctrine, and the ambiguities that still exist.

Ministerial Housing Allowance: A Brief Overview


Federal law allows members of the clergy to exclude a “ministerial housing allowance” from income for federal income tax purposes. In this month’s KM Church Law Newsletter, Zack R. Gardner discusses generally what constitutes a “ministerial housing allowance”, who may take the allowance, and the rules governing when the allowance may be taken.

Retirement Plan Options for Tax-Exempt Organizations: QLACs


Recent IRS regulations provide longevity protection by allowing individuals to defer required minimum distributions from certain qualified retirement plans past age 70 1/2. This article by Michael Crowder discusses QLACs.

Churches and the FMLA’s New Definition of “Spouse”


The Department of Labor recently published a new rule under the Family Medical Leave Act amending the definition of “spouse” for FMLA purposes. Michael R. Crowder and Zack R. Gardner discuss the new rule and its implications for Churches and Church-related organizations in this month’s KM Church Law Newsletter.

Social Security for Married Couples


We have recently been learning some new things here at Kennerly Montgomery regarding estate planning and retirement planning. Please find attached our Estate Planning Newsletter. This particular edition focuses on optimizing Social Security benefits for married couples.

COBRA Continuation Coverage: Incapacity Exception for Premium Payments


"What is COBRA continuation coverage, and who pays for it?" and other questions will be answered in this article.

Public Chapter 995 - Tennessee Human Rights Act (“THRA”)


Effective July 1, 2014, Public Chapter 995 amends several of Tennessee’s existing employment statutes to bring them in line with their related federal counterpart. Specifically, the Tennessee Human Rights Act (“THRA”) has been amended to remove liability for individual supervisors or agents for claims against the employer.

The Supreme Court’s Decision Overturning Yard-Man


On January 26, 2015, the Supreme Court of the United States rejected the rule established by the Sixth Circuit in International Union, United Auto., Aerospace, & Agricultural Implement Workers of Am. v. Yard-Man, Inc., 716 F.2d 1476 (1983). In M & G Polymers USA, LLC v. Tackett, the Court rejected the Sixth Circuit’s inferences concluding that (i) if a benefit plan’s provisions were silent as to termination, then those benefits were to vest for life and (ii) provisions were “illusory” if they benefit one class while not benefiting another...

Certificate of Employability


Tennessee’s general assembly passed a new statute allowing convicted criminals to apply for a certificate of employability and providing protection to employers who hire employees who have received a certificate of employability. Ben Cunningham’s memo, attached, discusses the new statute.

DOL Notice of Proposed Rulemaking: Changes to the FMLA Definition of “Spouse”


In the wake of the United States v. Windsor decision striking down Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), the Department of Labor (DOL), on June 26 2013, revised the definition of spouse for FMLA purposes to include same-sex spouses legally married and residing within a state that recognizes same-sex marriages.

Affordable Care Act Update


Final Regulations Published on the 90-Day Waiting Period Limitation

"Church Plans" and ERISA


A “church plan” is generally exempt from the requirements of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (“ERISA”) unless the plan sponsor affirmatively elects ERISA coverage.

Retirement Plan Options for Tax Exempt Entities


Which plan is right for you and your employees?

Employee Benefits FAQs on Same-Sex Marriage


Which states recognize same-sex marriage? Does Federal law recognize same-sex marriages? How does the Windsor decision affect payment of federal taxes? Does Windsor impact employee benefit plans? How does Tennessee treat same-sex marriages? Do any local governments in Tennessee provide benefits to the same-sex spouses of their employees? Has anyone ever challenged the Tennessee constitutional language prohibiting same-sex marriages?

Employee Benefits FAQs on Required Minimum Distributions


What are RMDs, and when does a retirement plan participant/IRA owner begin withdrawing RMDs? How are RMD amounts calculated? What consequences do plan participants and plan sponsors face after failing to withdraw full and timely RMDs? What are the RMD rules for retirement accounts and IRAs that are inherited?

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