Franklin, TN asked in Estate Planning and Probate for Tennessee

Q: If a non family member opens probate and becomes executor without a death certificate, is the appointment valid

For an update, the person opened probate and got the papers and did not have a death certificate and over 2 months later in probate court the Judge mentioned the court never received a death certificate.

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1 Lawyer Answer

Leonard Robert Grefseng

Answered
  • Estate Planning Lawyer
  • Columbia, TN
  • Licensed in Tennessee

A: Your question is unclear- by saying there is no death certificate, are you saying the person is not dead?! Tennessee has a statute which sets an order of priority for those serving as administrator of an estate (when there is no will). Usually a will contains a paragraph naming who is to serve as executor or alternate executor. If there is a will which names this person, the appointment is likely "valid" unless, of course, there is no deceased person. However, on the other hand, if someone has attempted to defeat the terms of the will by acting in a rush before the actual person named in the will. the appointment can always be set aside/revoked.

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