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Tennessee Estate Planning Questions & Answers
1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for Tennessee on
Q: Dad dies, will deeds property to mom. Stipulates after her death, to be split amongst kids. Mom wants to sell. Can she?

Father passed 16 years ago. His will stated the home is to be left to mother, then following her death, the property is to be split between 4 adult children - 3 father's biological, 1 mother's biological. The deed is in mother's name and she has maintained the property solely.... Read more »

Nina Whitehurst
Nina Whitehurst answered on Jul 20, 2021

It is not possible to answer your question without actually seeing your father's will and also reviewing the probate case, if there was one. It would also be necessary to review a limited chain of title to see how title ended up in your mother's name. You should take all of this... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning for Tennessee on
Q: Can someone who was adopted by a step parent in early childhood claim their biological parents inheritance in tennessee?

Now the person is in their 40’s claiming to be a biological child and got a post death DNA test.

Nina Whitehurst
Nina Whitehurst answered on Jul 6, 2021

TCA 36-1-121(e) provides:

An adopted child shall not inherit real or personal property from a biological parent or relative thereof when the relationship between them has been terminated by final order of adoption, nor shall such biological parent or relative thereof inherit from the...
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1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for Tennessee on
Q: do you have to go through probate in TN when there's a will?

mother had a will leaving everything to my husband and his sister who died 30 yrs ago with no heirs of her own. there is a house and 2 small lots in Arizona, plus an older minivan, checking account and savings account. we gathered death certificates for his dad, sister, and mom and tried to file... Read more »

Nina Whitehurst
Nina Whitehurst answered on Jun 28, 2021

Yes, probate is how wills are administered. That said, a whole lot more information is needed to determine exactly which probate process(es) is/are needed and in which state(s). If the decedent had real property in multiple states, for example, you might need a probate attorney in each state.

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning, Real Estate Law, Civil Litigation and Land Use & Zoning for Tennessee on
Q: I received a motion for publication in the mail in regards to the house i live in . Which the owner is deceased.

What's a notice by publication.

Nina Whitehurst
Nina Whitehurst answered on Jun 26, 2021

Notice by publication serves to give the person notified notice of the matter or proceeding when the party pursuing the matter isn't certain that they have the correct mailing or service address of someone. It sounds like you have received both actual notice and notice by publication (which... Read more »

2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning for Tennessee on
Q: Father died with a will. Who gets his personal assets?

Father left house to one of his kids and lifetime residence to spouse via a will to avoid probate. Assets on the property were not addressed in the will. Lawyer said assets do not belong to the child who inherited the house and should be divided amongst spouse and other children. Is this correct?

Anthony M. Avery
Anthony M. Avery answered on Jun 15, 2021

If the Will is not probated, it has no effect. And the purported Will probably does address both real and personal property. Without the Will being probated, the Heirs At Law own the real property and the Next of Kin (same as heirs) own the personal property. With no Will, the Heirs are all... Read more »

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1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for Tennessee on
Q: Tenn. Non-Resident Executor requirements?

I live in FL. My father is moving from FL to TN. I know upon his death I must file the form to name the Sec of State to receive legal notices. My question is about "CO-Executor".

1. Can I name this Co-Executor AFTER my father passes or is it required to be named in the... Read more »

Nina Whitehurst
Nina Whitehurst answered on Jun 10, 2021

There is no requirement for a Co-Executor in Tennessee. A non-resident may serve solo as Executor as long as he or she, as you are already aware, designates the Secretary of State to receive legal notices.

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning and Real Estate Law for Tennessee on
Q: Joint Tenants With Rights of Surviorship Deed

My father and I are on a relative's deed, who since passed, as Joint Tenants with Rights of Survivorship. If we sell the property, is it required that the proceeds of the property sale be split amongst the co-tenants 50/50?

Anthony M. Avery
Anthony M. Avery answered on Jun 8, 2021

Usually both owners want to get paid. If you and your Father have another arrangement, that is your business. But if I represent the seller, there will be one check with both owners as payees. If you Father wants to convey his interest to you prior to the sale, then he can do so or vice versa.

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning for Tennessee on
Q: Grandmother passed away without a will in TN My Mother lived in her house with her for years and remained after death…

Grandmother did not owe any bills and her house was paid for. The house was never transferred to my mothers name. I have paid the taxes on it for years. Now my mother is in bad health. Should we put the house in my mothers name now or will it pass to me upon her passing? Thank you.

Anthony M. Avery
Anthony M. Avery answered on May 17, 2021

You must determine who the owner is right now first. A title search and an heirship determination will be in order. Then you and the Mother might seek counsel about Estate Planning. Remember the longer you wait, the chances of judgment liens become more pronounced.

1 Answer | Asked in Landlord - Tenant, Estate Planning and Probate for Tennessee on
Q: shut out of property that is co-owned, under joint tenants with right of survivorship fall under unlawful ouster law

after death of parent, my brother, who was an equal owner, under joint tenants with right of survivorship has refused to provide access or keys to the property, which has been co-owned since April, 1994. He is now attempting to make me pay for expenses for that property.

Anthony M. Avery
Anthony M. Avery answered on May 17, 2021

If in fact you are a joint tenant with your brother, then you may wish to help pay for the taxes, insurance, etc. Somebody has to, or the Trustee will sell it for taxes. You may wish to hire an attorney to file a Petition in Chancery for a Sale for Partition. Also you two could buy each... Read more »

2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for Tennessee on
Q: Can a will be changed after the grantor has deceased if the overseer's is granted power of attorney ?
Nina Whitehurst
Nina Whitehurst answered on May 3, 2021

A will cannot be changed after the testator passes. And, in any event, powers of attorney automatically expire/terminate at death.

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1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning for Tennessee on
Q: Under Tennessee law, is a bank account in a deceased individual's name considered "tangible personal property"?

My uncle recently passed away, and left all tangible personal property to his partner, then split the residue between several people. As executor, I need to know if the account goes to his partner, or distributed to the others. Thanks.

Nina Whitehurst
Nina Whitehurst answered on Apr 29, 2021

A bank account is not tangible personal property. Tangible personal property is things that you can touch, feel, pick up and move, such as furniture, artwork, clothing, tools, that sort of thing.

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for Tennessee on
Q: My father has a living will and it states then his girlfriend is the executor over the will.

My father's will states that his girlfriend and her grandson can continue living in the home after his death. It also states that the house is left 50% to me and 50% to his girlfriends grandson. I live in the state of Tennessee it is start anything I can do after his death and contest it and... Read more »

Frank J. Steiner
Frank J. Steiner answered on Apr 26, 2021

File a muniment of title with the will. Change title and eject the girlfriend. The will control over anything told to the girlfriend.

2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning, Elder Law and Probate for Tennessee on
Q: If my father's life insurance is paid to my mother's estate can it be taken by creditors my parents owed money to?

My father had a life insurance policy with prudential that named my mother as primary beneficiary and me and my brother as contingent beneficiaries. My parents passed from covid within 22 hours of each other. My father passed 1st and my mother 2nd surviving him by 22 hours on a ventilator. After... Read more »

Nina Whitehurst
Nina Whitehurst answered on Apr 25, 2021

You are correct on both accounts. If your mom did not survive your dad by at least 120 hours, then she is deemed to have predeceased him. That would leave his children as the sole heirs of his estate (having died without a will). The insurance proceeds should be paid to you and your other... Read more »

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2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning for Tennessee on
Q: My father passed in 2020 . Mother in 2007. Do I have to probate his will. There's only a small house and Im only child

Live in Tennessee.

Nina Whitehurst
Nina Whitehurst answered on Apr 25, 2021

More facts, including review of the will, are required to answer your question, but if what you say is true, this can probably be handled with an affidavit and a relatively simple court filing, both of which get recorded in the land records. A probate attorney can help you with this.

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1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning for Tennessee on
Q: Can i get a new estate lawyer if i have one hired but feel he isnt the right fit.
Nina Whitehurst
Nina Whitehurst answered on Apr 23, 2021

Yes, of course. You are a free agent. You can fire your existing attorney and hire another to pick up where the other left off. Just understand that you might end up paying more in the long run because the second attorney will have to take some time getting up to speed.

2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning for Tennessee on
Q: My grandmother has passed. She lived in Illinois. She set up a trust fund for my mother.

Which is being administered by fifth third bank in Illinois. Mother has questions about the trust, and wants to know if she should hire a attorney in Tennessee or Illinois.

Jackie Marie Howard
Jackie Marie Howard answered on Apr 21, 2021

My condolences for your loss. The trust itself should define what State's laws it follows. The trustee should provide a copy of the trust to your Mom. Likely you will find the trust says it follows Illinois law.

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1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning for Tennessee on
Q: My grandmother has passed and lived in Illinois. She set up a trust fund for my mother who lives in Tennessee.

Mother has questions about the trust. Does she need a attorney in Tennessee or Illinois. Thank You.

Nina Whitehurst
Nina Whitehurst answered on Apr 20, 2021

You have not provided enough facts to determine where the trust administration is taking place. Most like it is in Illinois, but it could also be in Tennessee, or possibly somewhere else. We would need to see a copy of the trust and would need to understand who is administering the trust and... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning for Tennessee on
Q: My grandmother has passed and lived in Illinois. She set up a trust fund for my mother who lives in Tennessee.

Mother has questions about the trust . Does she need a attorney in Illinois or Tennessee. Thank you.

Anthony M. Avery
Anthony M. Avery answered on Apr 20, 2021

I recommend her obtaining counsel of a Tennessee attorney first. He should be able to get a copy of the Trust Instrument, and after reading it, advise her. The Trust Corpus and/or Trustee may not be in Illinois or Tennessee. It could involve four or more jurisdictions. Hopefully litigation... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning, Real Estate Law and Probate for Tennessee on
Q: I want to sell my deceased mother house but I have siblings

They can't buy me out and refuse to sell

Nina Whitehurst
Nina Whitehurst answered on Apr 18, 2021

First, if the title to the house has not already been updated to your names, you need to take care of that. A probate attorney can help you with that.

Then you can hire a real estate litigation attorney to file a lawsuit to force a sale and divide the proceeds among you. This is not...
Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for Tennessee on
Q: Hi, My father recently passed without a will. I am his only living child. He has 2 other children that already passed.

His grandchildren are stating that I am not biologically his and demand a DNA test. He was married to my mother and is on my birth certificate.I also grew up going to his house every other weekend. I was not close to him as an adult My siblings children claim they never heard of me. I never had any... Read more »

Anthony M. Avery
Anthony M. Avery answered on Apr 6, 2021

If you are his child, then you are an heir and next of kin. Has an Estate been Probated? Probate would probably be in your best interests here. You will need to hire an attorney to look into it and represent you. Otherwise forget about it, as time is of the essence.

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