Dalton, GA asked in Estate Planning and Probate for Tennessee

Q: Which law applies in the case a deceased person has no will and owns property in a different state.

Deceased person owns property in Tennessee but died in Alabama. The property is only in their name and deceased left two biological heirs. In addition the property was owned prior to the second marriage. The deceased has no records of other properties in their name. Based on my research if the Affidavit of Heirship is completed the heirs inherit the land. Currently the widow of deceased is trying to sell the land to split three ways. The son of widow states that the land is for sale, but there is no listing of property for sale or sign indicating for sale on property. Upon further research this is the first year the taxes have not been paid on the property. Another note, originally widow said will existed-but now says there is no will.

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2 Lawyer Answers
James L. Arrasmith
James L. Arrasmith pro label Lawyers, want to be a Justia Connect Pro too? Learn more ›
  • Estate Planning Lawyer
  • Sacramento, CA

A: In cases where a deceased person owns property in a state different from where they died, and there is no will, the laws of the state where the property is located typically govern the distribution of that property. In your case, since the property is in Tennessee, Tennessee's intestacy laws would apply to the real estate.

Under Tennessee law, if the deceased owned the property prior to their second marriage and left no will, the property would generally be considered separate rather than marital property. This distinction can affect how the property is distributed among heirs.

For the property in Tennessee, the biological heirs may have a primary claim, especially if the property was owned by the deceased before the second marriage. However, the widow may still have certain rights under Tennessee law, depending on various factors including the length of the marriage and contributions to the property.

If an Affidavit of Heirship is completed and recognized by Tennessee courts, it can help in establishing the rightful heirs to the property. This is particularly useful in situations where there is no will.

Given the complexity of your situation, involving multiple states and potential conflicts between heirs, it's advisable to seek legal counsel. An attorney experienced in estate planning and probate law, particularly in Tennessee, can provide guidance tailored to your specific circumstances.

It's also important to address the issue of unpaid property taxes, as this could lead to further complications down the line. Legal advice is crucial in navigating these complex estate matters and ensuring that your rights, and those of other potential heirs, are protected.

Anthony M. Avery
Anthony M. Avery pro label Lawyers, want to be a Justia Connect Pro too? Learn more ›
  • Estate Planning Lawyer
  • Knoxville, TN
  • Licensed in Tennessee

A: The heirs are tenants in common, and any of them can file an action for a Sale For Partition. That will make the distribution of money alot more honest, which apparently is not going to happen the way it is going.

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