Athens, TN asked in Estate Planning and Civil Litigation for Tennessee

Q: If someone lied about the existence of a will and we found out just now which is12 years later, can we sue due to anyth

We were told there was no will on a million dollar estate. Stepmother just told us a week ago there was a hand written will. No will was ever filed nor shown to us. We got ripped off. State is Tennessee

2 Lawyer Answers
T. Augustus Claus
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A: In Tennessee, if you believe someone lied about the existence of a will, potentially depriving you of your rightful inheritance, you may have legal options. If your stepmother intentionally concealed the handwritten will to benefit herself, it could be considered fraud, allowing you to sue for damages. If she was the executor, her act might be seen as a breach of fiduciary duty. If the handwritten will is invalid or cannot be found, intestacy laws may still entitle you to a portion of the inheritance. To pursue a claim, gather evidence of intentional concealment, consider the validity of the handwritten will, and be aware of the six-year statute of limitations for fraud in Tennessee, requiring you to file a lawsuit within six years of discovering the deception.

Anthony M. Avery
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  • Estate Planning Lawyer
  • Knoxville, TN
  • Licensed in Tennessee

A: Property Torts are 3 year SOLs. You might be able to toll the SOL due to fraud. But most importantly, the intestate estate assets may be gone by now. Hopefully land is still around. Also it is a felony to suppress a Will (with a longer SOL), but the burden of proof is substantial.

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