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Tennessee Estate Planning Questions & Answers
1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning, Real Estate Law and Probate for Tennessee on
Q: My Mom died. Her land was held in an irrevocable sp. needs trust and I am sole heir. What do I need to do re: the deed?

My cousin is the Trustee and I have been in prison for a few years and don't know if there's a will or what to do. Advice would be greatly appreciated.

Nina Whitehurst
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Nina Whitehurst
answered on Feb 19, 2022

Your question cannot be answered without reviewing the trust and the deed, but chances are there is not a whole lot that needs to be done with respect to the titling of the property. The wonderful thing about holding land in a trust is when the settlor passes no probate is necessary.

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning and Family Law for Tennessee on
Q: In Tennessee do you have to have a reading of the will?

My mother died last week and my sister has a copy of a will that leaves her everything. She may have the original but I have not seen it. Will there have to be a reading or anything else to prove a valid will?

Nina Whitehurst
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Nina Whitehurst
answered on Feb 13, 2022

The "reading of the will" is something that happens in movies for dramatic effect. It is not something that happens in real life. In real life the way a will is proven is through a process called probate, which is a type of court case. The person who has possession of the will is... Read more »

2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning, Family Law and Probate for Tennessee on
Q: In 2009 My dad passed away while I was still a minor,I am an adult now and wondering what my rights are?

when i was 3 mo old my mom met the man that would legally adopt me as his son, my mom passed away, a few years later my dad also passed away. I was still a minor, and was left to live with this relative...then passed around to the next relative until I turned 18 and was totally left on my own.... Read more »

Anthony M. Avery
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Anthony M. Avery
answered on Jan 31, 2022

As a practical matter, the personal property is probably gone. But that Deed is interesting. You need to search the title and check the taxes. It might be a very good case for a Partition Action. You will have to hire a competent TN attorney that knows real property litigation.

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1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for Tennessee on
Q: My mother recently passed away leaving no will. The only children were my brother and I but he has just recently passed.

My mother has a home that I know she wanted to leave with me becaused we've discussed it. I had a brother who passed away recently after my mother. My brother and I were in the process for me to have full ownership of the home because he was ill and residing in a nursing home and did not want... Read more »

Anthony M. Avery
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Anthony M. Avery
answered on Jan 24, 2022

You have not stated what the title is. But it may result in you and the Son being tenants in common. If so, you may wish to have a lawyer draft a Deed with a proper derivation of title clause, and try to buy him out. Remember taxes, insurance and note payments must be made, or a foreclosure... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for Tennessee on
Q: My dad's life insurance policy. His wife, myself, and my sister are listed as primary beneficiaries.

if wife passes before policy is cashed out; who is entitled to her part of the life insurance?

Anthony M. Avery
PREMIUM
Anthony M. Avery
answered on Jan 13, 2022

More than likely the Wife's Will Beneficiaries or her Next Of Kin. But there may be alternative beneficiary designations. In any event the Policy Beneficiaries may need a lawyer to make a claim on that Policy.

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning, Real Estate Law and Probate for Tennessee on
Q: I borrowed money from my father to buy a house. I am his only child. He does not a have a will.

What happens to this debt when he dies? He is listed on the deed as having a lien on the property.

Anthony M. Avery
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Anthony M. Avery
answered on Jan 5, 2022

I do not understand that there is a lien in the deed language. Vendor's Liens have not been used for over 80 years. You are probably an heir if not the sole heir. If the sole heir, you also own the debt against your property, if it actually exists. Hire a competent attorney to search the... Read more »

2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning for Tennessee on
Q: Brother died with no will, my mother & I are only living relatives. Will assets be distributed evenly to each of us?

Since my brother had no will, I understand that his estate must go to probate especially since he had real property. Will assets in probate court be distributed evenly to me & my mother (we are in TN)?

Nina Whitehurst
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Nina Whitehurst
answered on Dec 5, 2021

If your brother died with no will, no surviving spouse and no living descendants (children or grandchildren of his own), then his entire estate goes to his then living parent(s).

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1 Answer | Asked in Child Support, Estate Planning, Family Law and Real Estate Law for Tennessee on
Q: My minor child’s father passed away. If there is no will, does child support still have to be paid out of the estate?

The father had 4 children. 2 are adults now, 1 other and mine are minors. At time of death the father was still paying child support. The sister n law has been given Administratrix over the estate. I read somewhere that child support would have to still be paid up and would come out of the estate... Read more »

Nina Whitehurst
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Nina Whitehurst
answered on Nov 23, 2021

You need to make a claim in the probate case, and don't delay because there are very short deadlines. You should hire an attorney to help you with this.

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for Tennessee on
Q: If a husband/wife want to avoid probate and seek to establish a living trust. Is there one trust with both or one each?

In the state of Tennessee.

Nina Whitehurst
PREMIUM
Nina Whitehurst
answered on Oct 27, 2021

There is no one size fits all answer to your question. Sometimes a joint trust is appropriate and sometimes separate trusts. For advice personalized to your individual circumstances, you should schedule a consultation with an experienced estate planning attorney.

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for Tennessee on
Q: My dad died with personal loan in his name only. Is his wife liable to repay? All assets (not much) were jt, no executor
Anthony M. Avery
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Anthony M. Avery
answered on Oct 18, 2021

Some necessities and medical bills can be asserted against the surviving Spouse. But if no Probate Administration, it will be difficult for the Creditor even find a Defendant to serve. If the Decedent had real property, a Judgment Lien could be a real problem.

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning, Real Estate Law and Probate for Tennessee on
Q: Does house and car need to go through probate in TN? Will leaves one child house and other car/guns.

Oldest child is executor of will. Both children are residents of KY. Deceased is resident of TN at time of death. Will leaves oldest house (to be sold) youngest being me car jewlry and guns. Guns and jewelry were given to me yrs ago. I buried jewelry ( necklace) with deceased. Is probate necessary... Read more »

Nina Whitehurst
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Nina Whitehurst
answered on Oct 15, 2021

Your question cannot be answered without reviewing the will and understanding exactly what assets are in the estate and how much the decedent owed to creditors. As a general rule, real estate is not a probate asset in Tennessee, but that can be changed by will and also it can be drawn into a... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning for Tennessee on
Q: What is the process I need to go theouyto change my daughter as trustee t either myself (POA) or my husband (2nd Poa) ?

My daughter and Fiancè have informed us they don’t want the responsibility.

Nina Whitehurst
PREMIUM
Nina Whitehurst
answered on Oct 3, 2021

An estate planning attorney would need to review your trust in order to answer your question. The answer will initially depend on whether your trust is revocable or irrevocable. If revocable, you can most likely do this by amendment or appointment. If irrevocable, you have to follow the rules in... Read more »

2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning for Tennessee on
Q: Is probate necessary with will and personal representative assigned?

My step dad’s will allowed my mom to live in home until her death. Then house must be sold & proceeds divided among heirs. She passed. Is probate necessary?

Anthony M. Avery
PREMIUM
Anthony M. Avery
answered on Sep 27, 2021

Probate of the Will or your Mother's Estate? If your Mother was not a

surviving tenant by the entirety then only through the Probated

Will did she take the fee. Otherwise it was a 1/3 or 1/2. If his will was not probated, then there are several heirs from both...
Read more »

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1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning for Tennessee on
Q: I recently moved to TN from GA, do I have to update Will, POA, Health Care Directive, Living Will?
Nina Whitehurst
PREMIUM
Nina Whitehurst
answered on Sep 22, 2021

There no law that requires you to update any of your estate planning documents when you move from one state to another, but it is always a good idea to at least have them reviewed by an estate planning attorney in the state to which you have moved.

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning, Real Estate Law and Probate for Tennessee on
Q: My father just passed away, he has 3 daughters. I am the oldest and one is underage. He also had a girlfriend living

With him at time of death. Can’t locate a Will. His girlfriend is making it seem like she doesn’t want me to look through anything or take anything. What rights do I have and she have? She still at his house.

Nina Whitehurst
PREMIUM
Nina Whitehurst
answered on Sep 13, 2021

Absent a will that leaves things to her, your dad's girlfriend has no rights. You need to hire a probate attorney right away to get a probate case started in order to transfer assets to your dad's heirs, his children. The court-appointed executor may also need to hire an eviction... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning for Tennessee on
Q: When filing for probate of an estate shouldn't the estate attorney file the Memorandum of Tangible Personal Property

Father had added a Memorandum of Tangible Personal Property to his will 11 years after he did his revocable trust agreement. The memorandum meets all the requirements: hand written, dated, and clearly understood. It is also mentioned in his original trust.

This was shown to the estate... Read more »

Nina Whitehurst
PREMIUM
Nina Whitehurst
answered on Sep 5, 2021

There are some things that can be passed by memorandum and some that can't. Also, the items need to be in the trust in order to pass by memorandum referred to in the trust. You might think about taking all of the documentation that you have to another attorney for a second opinion.

2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning for Tennessee on
Q: My mother passed away recently. I handled everything for her. She is receiving small checks from companies like deposit

I’m her only child, she’s been divorced for 30

Years. She lived with me the last 8 months for health reasons. The checks are all under $100 like from xfinity and insurance and apartment deposit. How do I cash them? Is there a form I can get to show along with her death certificate?

Nina Whitehurst
PREMIUM
Nina Whitehurst
answered on Aug 27, 2021

If the checks add up to less than $10,000, and if there are no other assets in the estate and no probate has been opened, then you can try waiting 90 from date of death and then approach your bank about negotiating the checks to you as the next of kin pursuant to TCA 45-2-711 or TCA 45-3-524.

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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
PREMIUM
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
PREMIUM
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...
Read more »

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
PREMIUM
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.

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