Blog

Wednesday, 10 May 2017
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In my prior two blogs I discussed the witness requirements in Tennessee for a traditional, typed out will, and a nuncupative will.   Now, let us turn our attention to holographic wills.   

Holographic wills are wills that are handwritten.  Tennessee does recognize holographic wills that meet the statutory requirements (not all states recognize them).  The statute governing the requirements for a holographic will in Tennessee is very short.  T.C.A. § 32-1-105 states the following: “No witness to a holographic will is necessary, but the signature and all its material provisions must be in the handwriting of the testator and the testator’s handwriting must be provided by two (2) witnesses.”  In sum, to have a valid holographic will, the testator must sign the will and all material provisions must be in the handwriting of the testator.  When the will is probated, the probate attorney will then have to obtain the sworn statement of two witnesses who can verify that the handwriting is that of the testator.  There are two areas where I often see an attempt at a holographic will fail to meet the statutory requirements.  First, all material provisions are not in the handwriting of the testator.  This happens a lot with “fill in the blank” type of wills.  If most of the will is in the testator’s handwriting but a certain material provision is typed, that is not a valid holographic will.  Second, the testator didn’t sign the will.  Family members will sometimes bring in a handwritten list that their loved one had made stating things like, “I leave my diamond ring to my daughter,” but unless that list is signed it has no chance of being a holographic will.

Based on this blog and the previous two, you can probably see it is not a good idea to try to distribute your assets without the aid of an attorney.  I am truly saddened for the family when I see an attempt at a will that is simply not valid in Tennessee.  In those situations, the way that the property must be passed under Tennessee law is often obviously not how the deceased person wished it be distributed.   

We would love to have a commitment-free conversation with you to discuss how we might be able to serve you in our estate planning practice.  Whether you could benefit from a simple Will, powers of attorney, or some type of trust, we are here to walk you through the process.

Contact Us

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

CONTACT AN ATTORNEY  or CALL US: 615.444.2345

 

 

 

  

 

Erika Piland, Attorney at Law

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Posted on 05/10/2017 10:56 AM by Erika Piland
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Friday, 14 April 2017
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On Saturday, April 29th, 2017 we will be throwing our 5th 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! We'd like to show our appreciation for all of your business and support over that past 7+ years that has contributed to our success!


When: Saturday April 29th - Rain or Shine! (We have tents.)
What Time: 2:00pm - 6:00pm
Where: Our Lebanon Office - Click Here for Directions
Food: Crawfish, Cajun Food and BBQ
Beverages: We will have Sweet Tea & Beer

We have live music from The Roadhouse Roosters for your enjoyment, activities 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 ROLL! We can't wait to see you!

LET US KNOW IF YOU ARE COMING SO WE CAN PLAN ACCORDINGLY! Eventbrite - Tressler Crawfish Boil & BBQ


 

Questions?
If you have any questions at all please let us know. Call 615-444-2345 or Email Us: event@tresslerassociates.com

 

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Posted on 04/14/2017 9:37 AM by Todd Tressler
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Tuesday, 11 April 2017
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In my prior blog I discussed the witness requirements in Tennessee for a traditional, typed out will.  In this blog and the following I will discuss the requirements for nuncupative and holographic wills. 

Let’s start by discussing nuncupative wills.  A nuncupative will is an oral will that is made by someone in “imminent peril of death” and “shall be valid only if the testator died as a result of the impending peril.”  (See T.C.A. § 32-1-106.) Now, I know what you’re thinking: “Oral wills are valid?”  Yes, but not for much.  T.C.A. § 32-1-106 explains that it is only valid if 1) the testator makes the declaration before two disinterested witnesses, 2) the wishes are reduced to writing under the direction of one of the witnesses within thirty days of declaration, and 3) the will is “submitted for probate within six months after the death of the testator.”  However, even if all of these requirements are met, a nuncupative will is only valid to dispense of personal property and only valid for personal property not exceeding one thousand dollars in the aggregate.  The only exception to this is when the dollar amount is increased to ten thousand dollars if used by a person in active military service in a time of war.

As you can guess, it is not a good idea to count on using oral statements to distribute your assets.  Usually, they are invalid and your estate would pass according to Tennessee’s laws of intestacy (the laws the apply when someone dies without a will).  Nuncupative wills rarely make it through the probate process and if they do, they usually distribute only a small portion of a person’s estate.  Plan ahead and have one of our attorneys discuss your estate planning wishes so that we can put them in a binding, legal document and secure your peace of mind about the future.


Contact Us

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

CONTACT AN ATTORNEY  or CALL US: 615.444.2345

 

 

 

   Erika Piland, Attorney at Law


 

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Posted on 04/11/2017 12:10 PM by Erika Piland
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Tuesday, 21 March 2017
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One of the main issues that I see with a Last Will and Testament that was created online or not executed in front of an attorney is that the witness requirements of Tennessee law are not met.  In Tennessee, if those requirements are not met the will is not valid.  You have worked to create a meaningless document and if you were to pass away before fixing this, your estate would fall under the laws of intestacy (the laws that apply when someone dies without a Will).  This is definitely something I want you to avoid.

So what are those requirements?  T.C.A. § 32-1-104 provides that a will, other than a holographic or nuncupative will, must be signed by the testator (the person making the will) and two witnesses.  There are specific requirements within the code spelling out what the testator must signify to the witnesses in this process.   T.C.A. § 32-1-103 further clarifies that the witnesses cannot be “interested” persons, meaning they must not have any interest in the testator’s estate.  Also, not only must the witnesses and testator sign the will, they must all do so in the presence of each other.  Tennessee requires strict compliance with these rules.  If any part is not met, the will is invalid.

The Tennessee legislature recently amended the witness laws to allow signatures on a specific type of affidavit that is often attached to the will to count as the witness signature requirement.  However, this is a very minor exception because the following must be true about that particular will and affidavit: 1) the affidavit meets the requirements of T.C.A. § 32-2-110, 2) the affidavit also meets the witness requirements listed in the previous paragraph, and 3) the will was executed prior to July 1, 2016.  As you can tell, this minor exception will not apply to most wills and will definitely not apply to any new wills being created.

It is important to remember that these requirements apply only to traditional, type written wills.  Stay tuned for my next couple of blog post where I will discuss all of the requirements involved for a nuncupative or holographic will to be valid.

The last thing anyone wants is to believe that an estate plan is secure, when in fact the will you’ve created is invalid due to a technical detail.  Should Tressler & Associates, PLLC, have the opportunity to prepare your will, we take care to ensure that all witness requirements are met and even provide the witnesses for you at the signing.  

Contact Us

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

CONTACT AN ATTORNEY  or CALL US: 615.444.2345

 

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Posted on 03/21/2017 2:51 PM by Erika Piland
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Tuesday, 28 February 2017
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I have seen many situations where a real estate contract is signed and then we soon discover that the person who signed the contract to sell the real estate is not the same person who is listed in public records as holding title.  Once we begin asking questions, we soon find out that the title holder has passed away and this person was a spouse, child, or executor who signed the contract. 

Where do we go from there? Well, let me answer that with the most stereotypical lawyer answer: it depends.  Although a stereotype, this answer apples to this situation incredibly well because there are many factors that will play into the process of closing on that contract.  For example, here are a few questions we would ask the seller:

  • Did the decedent have a Will?
  • If not, who were the decedent’s heirs? Have any heirs predeceased the decedent?
  • Was the decedent fifty-five years of age or older?
  • Was the decedent married?
  • Have any probate proceedings been started?

The list goes on.  However, the good news is, once we can get these answers, we will be able to come up with a comprehensive plan for you to be able to close as soon as possible within the constraints of your contract.  You will want someone who has handled many of these transactions to be advising you on this important sale.
Let us take the worry and stress out of selling the home of a loved one who has passed away.  Whether you have a signed contract on the real estate or not, contact us to walk you through the process that would apply to your specific scenario.

Contact Us

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

CONTACT AN ATTORNEY  or CALL US: 615.444.2345

 

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Posted on 02/28/2017 1:08 PM by Erika Piland
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Thursday, 16 February 2017
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I recently saw this post on Facebook and I wanted to share it. This is something as attorneys we see too often and I thought it a worthwhile reminder...

"I cannot stress enough, how important it is to have the conversation with your family about your final wishes. Have a will in place, organize your financial documents for your loved ones, write down simple wishes such as items to be given to specific members of the family or just details of your funeral wishes. As times, situations change, keep these documents updated. It's such an extremely stressful time for everyone and even more so when some of these items are left unsaid. It's very hard to take emotions out of the situation when there are so many emotional details to attend to after someone's passing. This has been the hardest past two weeks of my life; last night and today just topped it off... but I'm sure there are more to come. I'll get through them one step at a time.

Please, I beg you; friends and family - have that difficult conversation. You and your loved ones will be grateful that you did"

We are all procrastinators to some degree.  Some of us may put small matters off for a few extra days, like grocery shopping or mowing the lawn, while others go by the old saying, why do today what I can put off till next year.  This is fun to joke about; however, when it comes to the legal consequences of procrastination, it can be devastating.  

In our law firm we see so many lives changed forever by someone’s procrastination.  We hear on a daily basis, “if dad, mom, a spouse, or a business partner, etc., would not have put this off then we would not be in this horrible predicament.  It is so true in almost any area of the law.  People love to put off making a Last Will and Testament, signing a Power of Attorney, having important business documents drafted, or pursuing a case where someone has legally wronged them.  

Legal procrastination can cause family members unbelievable amounts of additional stress and expense in a very challenging time of their lives.   It is not uncommon to see people inadvertently left out of an inheritance or see families fighting after a loved one’s death that could have been avoided if it were not for the procrastination of the deceased.  Also, we see people forced to get conservatorships and guardianships in the court room - something that may have been avoided by the more timely hiring of an attorney.  Almost daily, we see what would be valid legal claims that are barred by the statute of limitations because the individual did not seek an attorney in time.  When it comes to washing your car or getting a haircut, please feel free to procrastinate, but for important legal matters please contact an attorney today and take the appropriate legal steps to Secure Your Peace of Mind and protect your family.

How Do I Get Prepared?

CONTACT AN ATTORNEY  or CALL US: 615.444.2345

Keep in mind…this service can also be taken advantage of by real estate agents, lenders, and other vendors who are all valuable parts of the closing process.

We look forward to securing your peace of mind in new ways!

 


 

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Posted on 02/16/2017 9:25 AM by Jonathan Tinsley
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Thursday, 26 January 2017
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We are pleased to announce that for all our clients closing on their real estate purchase or sale with Tressler Title, we are now offering an assessment of your Estate Documents at the same time, with an attorney from Tressler & Associates, PLLC,  for a low flat fee.

Closing on a property is often an important time to amend your existing estate documents. For those without any existing documents it is a great time to handle it as you can sign both documents in one visit to our office!

What Will You Get?

An Attorney at Tressler & Associates, PLLC, will first review your Buyer or Seller’s estate documents during the course of their closing with Tressler Title. Then the attorney will schedule a phone call with your Buyer or Seller to discuss any updates that may be needed or desired, especially in light of the closing.  If new or amended documents are needed, they can be signed at closing! That’s right, close on real estate and update (or create) estate documents all at once.

What Does It Cost?

The cost for a review and phone call with an attorney is $250.00, however, if additional documents or amendments are needed, the $250.00 fee will be applied towards the total cost of the documents.  All fees for this service can usually be paid through the closing itself.

How Do I Get Started?

CONTACT AN ATTORNEY  or CALL US: 615.444.2345

Keep in mind…this service can also be taken advantage of by real estate agents, lenders, and other vendors who are all valuable parts of the closing process.

We look forward to securing your peace of mind in new ways!

 


 

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Posted on 01/26/2017 3:10 PM by Erika Piland
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Friday, 23 December 2016
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I would like to share with the community the Brooks House in Lebanon, Tennessee.

Brooks House opened in 2008 as a transitional, non-emergency shelter to help families in need. BH has the capacity to house up to 28 women and children to receive temporary shelter. Some of the services BH provides are:

  • Educational Services
  • Career Advancement & Employment Services
  • Medical Services
  • Dental Services
  • Financial Counseling
  • Legal Counseling
  • Spiritual Support & Counseling
  • Substance Abuse Counseling

Brooks House residents also have the opportunity to participate in various community activities provided by businesses and churches in the area.

Please visit their website at www.brookshouse.org

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Posted on 12/23/2016 2:50 PM by Todd Tressler
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Thursday, 22 December 2016
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During this season of giving and celebration of the birth of Christ, I encourage everyone to get involved with your local church. Many area churches have many outreaches in the community, many of which are run by volunteers and there is always a need for more people to get involved.
 
I know of a number of congregations here in Lebanon that operate a number of programs that support the community from after school tutoring programs, food pantries to  homeless ministries serving those needing a warm place to stay in these frigid Winter months.
 
So take a moment and visit your church's website or speak with your pastor or other church leaders to find out how you can support the outreach programs that serve so many in our communities.
 
Learn more about a great locacl church here in Lebanon: www.newhopecpchurch.com
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Posted on 12/22/2016 1:12 PM by Todd Tressler
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Wednesday, 21 December 2016
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Cerebral Palsy is something I am familiar with as I have a brother with Cerebral Palsy and know first hand the challenges this condition presents. By the Grace of God, my awesome brother's strength, many Blessings and incredible parents, we never had to ask for any assistance. Unfortunately that is not the case with many who have loved ones with this condition. I choose this organization because I know first hand from people my family knows through social interactions with others dealing with CP that the United Cerebral Palsy Association truly does support them in many ways including financially and providing education and advocacy in support of all involved with CP.
 
Please visit their website and find an affiliate near you or ways to get involved.  http://ucp.org/

- Connie Carden

 

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Posted on 12/21/2016 1:14 PM by Todd Tressler
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Tuesday, 20 December 2016
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Every year about 175,000 cases of cancer will be diagnosed in children around the world and the majority of children will not have access to adequate diagnosis and treatment. 

 
This could easily happen in any one of our own families.
 
They majority of all funding received by St. Jude is from generous donors. The families of the children being treated here will never recieve a bill for treatment, travel, housing, or food. Now that is helping someone in their time of need!
 
You can help out too! Go here to Learn More & Make a Donation: St Jude Children's Hospital
 
*statisics were retreived from https://www.stjude.org/
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Posted on 12/20/2016 2:44 PM by Todd Tressler
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Monday, 19 December 2016
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I learned of 'NICE' when I heard the story of the Founder and President Dr. Gatluak Thach. 'Gat' as he is known by many is a former refugee himself from Sudan in what was known as the Lost Boys.
 
From their humble beginnings Gat and his team of paid staff and dedicated volunteers NICE offers various programs for immigrants and refugees in Middle Tennessee such as youth leadership programs and after school programs, adult education classes, citizenship support and direct relationships with schools and individuals who work with immigrants.
 
In this season of gratitude I am so happy to spend time with my friends and family and cannot imagine who hard it would be to be so far away from everything and everyone I know like the families NICE serves, often with little more than the clothes on their back. I encourage you to visit their website, or learn more about programs in your city reaching out to those who are new to our country.
 
Learn More and Donate to the Nashville International Center for Empowerment:  www.empowernashville.org
 
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Posted on 12/19/2016 3:13 PM by Todd Tressler
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Friday, 16 December 2016
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One of the most rewarding aspects of the work we do at Tressler and Associates is the opportunity to learn about and work with individuals, businesses and organizations right here in our community.
 
One that is near and dear to my heart is Empower Me Center. Many know about the incredible day camp Empower Me offers individuals and families of those with special needs each summer, but that is just the beginning of the services they provide. I encourage anyone who reads this to visit their website and learn about the "DREAM" of Empower Me: D- day camp, R- recreational, E- educational, A- adult, M- multi-living and join me in supporting the work they do.

As we celebrate this season of giving, I cannot think of a more giving group of people and an organization that better demonstrates what that means than Empower Me.

To Learn More and Donate to this cause - Click Here - Empower Me Center

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Posted on 12/16/2016 1:29 PM by Todd Tressler
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Thursday, 15 December 2016
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I would like to spotlight an organization called Campfire. It is a Christian youth camp to help empower youth with the spiritual tools to overcome some of the many obstacles and challenges that they will encounter in our ever changing World. What started as a dream of  Kelley Johnson, founder of Campfire has become reality right here in our own backyard. To learn more about this incredible ministry please visit their website at www.wearecampfire.org - Sherri McDonald

 

 

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Posted on 12/15/2016 3:48 PM by Todd Tressler
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Wednesday, 14 December 2016
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Based in Rutherford County, Read to Succeed provides adult literacy and family literacy programs that address the basic literacy needs of those who struggle with reading. In Tennessee, 1 in 8 adults struggle to read which equals to be about 838,500 Tennesseans. Being a volunteer in this organization has allowed me to see firsthand the struggle and the triumph of those who seek to improve literacy skills for their personal and professional goals. When the tutors and volunteers work directly with the learners and families, they soon realize that not only are they helping to improve readings skills, but they also help boost the confidence and motivation in their learners. 

In 2015 alone, Read To Succeed and their volunteers provided 2,200 hours of free one-on-one adult tutoring, over 21,000 hours of English as a Second Language instruction, 3,000 meals to families at Family Literacy events, read to over 30,000 children, and gave away over 8,400 books to families who wanted to improve literacy in their homes!
I love seeing this organization instill the love of reading and learning back into the community!
 
Learn More and Make a Donation:  www.readtosucceed.org
 

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Posted on 12/14/2016 3:41 PM by Todd Tressler
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Tuesday, 13 December 2016
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"The music and news we listen to can have a huge impact on our day.  I am so thankful for "positive and encouraging" options on the radio in the car, at work, and at home. K-Love is one of my favorite radio stations that is listener-supported and is only on the air because of donations from people that have been blessed by tuning into the Good News. It gives me peace knowing my daughter can listen too without fear of hearing anything inappropriate - and it is such a joy to hear her singing her heart out in the backseat!  Their local station is on 97.1 fm and their website is www.klove.com."  Patty Galaway

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Posted on 12/13/2016 2:28 PM by Todd Tressler
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Monday, 12 December 2016
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I have chosen to donate to the Feeding Tree at my church, Woodmont Baptist Church. The Feeding Tree is a 30 foot, 20 ton stack of canned food that is made in the shape of and decorated like a Christmas tree. The cans are all donated to the church and are used to feed those in need in the greater Nashville area. For more information and to learn how to contribute to this effort please visit the link below.

www.woodmontbaptist.com/feedingtree

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Posted on 12/12/2016 4:31 PM by Todd Tressler
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Friday, 09 December 2016
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"Room in the Inn is a generous organization that serves more than 4,000 homeless men and women each year. For example, at this point in the year, they are busy finding places for people to have a warm meal and a place to sleep on cold nights. But beyond providing the necessities for people, they provide invaluable training. They supply training and resources to obtain jobs and become self-sufficient. They provide spiritual and emotional help, as well. I have volunteered with Room in the Inn and met several men who participate in the programs offered.  It is obvious that those men are immensely grateful for the way the program has helped them. Room in the Inn is changing lives.  The Nashville location has already served as a model for at least 24 other programs across the U.S. and Canada.  I would love to see their work continue to expand." Donate To Room In The Inn" Erika Piland

To read more about our 12 Days of Giving at Tressler & Associates Click Here

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Posted on 12/09/2016 2:59 PM by Erika Piland
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Thursday, 08 December 2016
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"Dreams and Wishes of Tennessee is a 501 c (3) Wish Granting organization founded in 2013.  We grant wishes to kids that have relapsed from cancer and wishes to young adults 18-21 that are newly diagnosed with a life-threatening illness. We've currently granted 20 wishes since inception and have an additional 27 kids approved and on the list waiting for their wish.  

The reasons I choose to support this organization include: it's a state organization--so, I know the communities that the recipients live in; and I believe that it helps empower the children and young adults that are facing these diagnosis', a positive outlook is exactly what they need! " - Melissa Eddy
 
To Learn more and donate to this worthy cause visit their website: www.dreamsandwishesoftn.org
 

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Posted on 12/08/2016 3:27 PM by Todd Tressler
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Wednesday, 07 December 2016
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The holiday countdown has begun and the season of giving is upon us! We will be continuing our annual tradition of giving back with our campaign: 12 Days of Giving 2016!

It has been another wonderful year for the Tressler & Associates team. We feel blessed beyond measure and we are extremely grateful for our friends, families, and clients who have made our success possible. We are donating to several organizations that our team members hold near and dear to their hearts. Each day a member of our team will share the organization they have selected as a recipient of our "12 Days of Giving" along with their reason why. It is our hope, that along with these donations, we can bring more awareness to these organizations that help make our communities merry and bright throughout the year.

If you would like to join us in donating to any of these worthy causes there will be links on each post. Please feel free to share these posts with your friends, family, and colleagues to help spread the word.

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Posted on 12/07/2016 11:08 AM by Todd Tressler
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