Updated: Feb 4
At some time or another, most everyone who lives in Sumner County, Tennessee, has driven down Nashville Pike near the Sonic and come upon Trinity Music City. Regionally famous for its annual Christmas decorations, locals often still colloquially refer to the complex as Twitty City, due to the fact that it was built by the late Hendersonville country music star Conway Twitty. What many people may not know is exactly why it is no longer Twitty City.
When Conway Twitty married his third wife, who was his former secretary, he failed to update his will to take into account his changed circumstances. After passing away, his will was admitted to probate, and it seemed to offer clear guidance: all of his property was to be divided amongst his children. As straightforward as this may seem, there was a problem in that Conway’s will had not been changed after marrying his third wife. By action of Tennessee law, because Conway had not amended his will after marriage, his third wife was entitled to a 1/3 share of his estate. Even though Conway may have thought his will could not be any clearer, he was mistaken.
What followed became national news. His children fought in court to continue living in their Twitty City houses. They also fought to keep the salaries that had been receiving from their father’s company. Twitty’s third wife, Dee, fought to receive her 1/3 share. After all was said and done, tens of thousands of dollars were spent in attorney and court fees, and more than a year had passed. Eventually, the probate judge ordered everything to be sold at auction. The children were kicked out of the houses, and all personal items were sold. Dee received 1/3 of the auction proceeds, and the remaining 2/3 was split among his four children.
The lesson to be learned from this ordeal is as such: Relying on the hope that everyone will be civil after your passing is often the first ingredient in a recipe for disaster. Failing to plan properly can have long-lasting financial and emotional effects on your family. Very often, parents are the glue that holds a family together; once they pass, infighting can begin. Conway Twitty’s estate had millions of dollars that could be used to pay the tens of thousands of dollars of attorneys’ fees. Unfortunately, most people do not have those kinds of funds, and any fight could quickly derail whatever plan they had for their family.
To avoid this type of turmoil, contact us at Mason & Associates, formerly known as Heritage Law Group, PLLC, to set up an initial consultation. We can discuss your current documents and your wishes, and our office will provide guidance on multiple options that are available. Please give us a call at (615) 989-7054, or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
About the Company:
Mason & Associates, formerly known as Heritage Law Group, PLLC, is a boutique Estate Planning and Elder Law firm assisting residents in Tennessee and Kentucky. We are dedicated to providing client-centered, professional legal services that are individualized through one-on-one consultations. We delight in empowering our clients and community through education and providing specialized resources. Our integrity-driven team will help you protect your legacy while delivering outstanding quality at a reasonable cost. Your Legacy Is Our Priority™
Jake Mason, J.D., LL.M. (Elder Law & Estate Planning), CELA, EPLS, is the Owner of Mason & Associates Law Firm in Gallatin, Tennessee. He is Certified as an Elder Law Attorney with the National Elder Law Foundation, is board-certified in Estate Planning and Probate by The Estate Law Specialist Board, Inc., of the National Association of Estate Planners & Councils, is accredited by the United States Department of Veterans Affairs, and is licensed in Kentucky and Tennessee. Mason is the only attorney in Tennessee or Kentucky with Board-Certifications in both Elder Law & Estate Planning. Contact us to schedule a consultation via phone, in-office, or video conference at (615) 989-7054 or email@example.com.