White House, TN asked in Estate Planning and Family Law for Tennessee

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?

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1 Lawyer Answer
Nina Whitehurst
Nina Whitehurst
  • Estate Planning Lawyer
  • Crossville, TN
  • Licensed in Tennessee

A: 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 obligated to deliver it to the person named executor in the will, and the named executor is obligated to administer the estate according to the terms of the will, which usually starts with filing the will in court. Once filed in court, the will becomes a public document, which means that anybody can obtain a copy from the court.

If there are assets that need to be retitled to the name(s) of the heir(s) according to the will and your sister is not taking steps to start the probate process, you can petition to have yourself appointed executor and you can have the court order to your sister to produce the will. A probate attorney can help you with this.

Anthony M. Avery agrees with this answer

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