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Tennessee Estate Planning Questions & Answers
1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning for Tennessee on
Q: My in-laws had their will/trust drawn up by a company that’s no longer in business. How do we find the original?

The company was Mid-South Estate Planning, which seems to have been charged with fraud or illegal practice.

Nina Whitehurst
PREMIUM
Nina Whitehurst
answered on Jun 28, 2022

In the "old days" attorneys did routinely hold original wills in their safes. This was in part due to the fact that most regular folk could not afford their own safes and partly due to the attorney's desire to handle the probate when the client died. Now that safes are more... Read more »

2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for Tennessee on
Q: If a will can't be found and the estate goes to probate, does the length of marriage factor into what a spouse receives?

For example, if your 75 year old father got married a year before he died, will probate court take into consideration that his "wife" was only so for a year, where as his money and assets were acquired over the lifetime of his 40plus year marriage to the mother of his two grown children,... Read more »

Anthony M. Avery
PREMIUM
Anthony M. Avery
answered on Jun 23, 2022

Surviving Spouse is a Heir At Law under TN's Intestate Succession Statute. Also a Surviving Spouse has various rights in the Decedent's Estate under the Probate Statutes. You are confused with Divorce laws.

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2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for Tennessee on
Q: If a will can't be found and the estate goes to probate, does the length of marriage factor into what a spouse receives?

For example, if your 75 year old father got married a year before he died, will probate court take into consideration that his "wife" was only so for a year, where as his money and assets were acquired over the lifetime of his 40plus year marriage to the mother of his two grown children,... Read more »

Nina Whitehurst
PREMIUM
Nina Whitehurst
answered on Jun 27, 2022

That is a good question because the surviving spouse's share is different depending on whether or not there is a will. If there is no will, like my colleague Mr. Avery stated, the surviving spouse's share is determined by the laws of intestate succession. At the risk of oversimplifying,... Read more »

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1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning for Tennessee on
Q: I am marrying on 7/7. If I put assets I want to protect in a revocable living trust before I marry, will this suffice?

We were gonna do a prenup but we did not realize it was so complicated. All I need to do is protect some assets(i.e. inheritance, brokerage accounts, etc.) from my future wife's creditors, lawyers, or a judge in the unlikely event of a divorce. We have cohabited for 12 years and all our... Read more »

Bennett James Wills
Bennett James Wills
answered on Jun 21, 2022

Assets in your name acquired before marriage are not marital property by statute. Those items cannot be garnished just by way of marriage; a judgment of any type would need to be against you for a creditor to garnish/levy the asset. If you have significant pre-marital assets, you would be wise to... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for Tennessee on
Q: How do I go about getting a copy of my father's will in Tennessee?

I believe my brother overlooked an entry.

Nina Whitehurst
PREMIUM
Nina Whitehurst
answered on Jun 14, 2022

You will have to ask your father for a copy. He is the only one that has the authority to release the original or copy of his will, for as long as he is alive.

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning and Family Law for Tennessee on
Q: Can a notary notarize my will and be one of the 2 witnesses?

We went to the bank during COVID to have our will notarized; there were only 2 people at the bank therefore, the notary notarized it, signed as a witness and the other person was the 2nd witness. Is this valid/legal or do I need to have it redone? We drew up the will ourselves online.

Anthony M. Avery
PREMIUM
Anthony M. Avery
answered on Jun 7, 2022

Will execution must be perfect and you will need a competent attorney. The need for Probate must be examined first, then you plan your Estate. Otherwise after you die it will be a mess, and the proposed document will be thrown out.

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning and Family Law for Tennessee on
Q: Can guardians of minor, of an unprobated estate, no will, take items (cars) from estate and register in their names?

17 yo boy, guardians were in place till he was 18 (5 months) They registered 2 cars that belonged to boys grandmother in their name after her death. No will. They just said the grandmother told them they could have them. Never got the boy the SSI he was entitled to either. No other heirs.

Anthony M. Avery
PREMIUM
Anthony M. Avery
answered on Jun 1, 2022

If the boy is the Next Of Kin, then the cars are his property. If not, then the rightful Next Of Kin should file suit in Chancery. You are not allowed to sit on your rights.

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning and Elder Law for Tennessee on
Q: Do i need a lawyer to represent me in a conservatorship case ?

I've been taking care of a family friend for the past 2 years and recently he had his leg amputated. His sister came down from Chicago to visit with him. We both were his medical POA. Until his sister tried to put him in a nursing home far away from anyone. He then took her off as POA, now... Read more »

Nina Whitehurst
PREMIUM
Nina Whitehurst
answered on May 27, 2022

You are not legally obligated to hire an attorney to represent you. You can legally represent yourself. However, you will probably obtain a better result and have more confidence with what you are doing if you hire an attorney to help you.

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning for Tennessee on
Q: Where is a Original copy of a Will stored within the government facility

Family property left to children

Anthony M. Avery
PREMIUM
Anthony M. Avery
answered on May 19, 2022

The Testator can ask the Clerk & Master of the Chancery Court to hold onto the original Will until it is needed by the Executor for Probate. However it is not required and is rarely utilized. Usually you have to search for the Will amongst the Decedent's belongings. A copy of a... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning for Tennessee on
Q: If I open a trust fund for my daughter from a previous relationship Will this be protected?

If I get divorced from my current husband will this money be protected? Could he take half of it or is it safe since it’s in her trust fund.

Anthony M. Avery
PREMIUM
Anthony M. Avery
answered on May 11, 2022

Do not create this Trust yourself. Hire a competent attorney to draft a simple Trust, possibly Spendthrift, without anyone else but the Trustee knowing. It will be difficult to keep it out of a divorce unless it is set up right and only certain people know about it. You will probably not... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for Tennessee on
Q: My father passed away yesterday without having a will. He Don’t have any property or land he only has $1200 in an accoun

He died without any insurance I was trying to get the money to go toward his funeral expenses. I’m his biological son

Anthony M. Avery
PREMIUM
Anthony M. Avery
answered on May 5, 2022

You can check to see who are the authorized signatories on the account with the Bank. But if he owned it individually, noone else has access to it right now. Sometimes a Bank will consider an Affidavit of Heirship as evidence of the Next Of Kin entitled to the personal property. Otherwise you... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning and Family Law for Tennessee on
Q: My sister filed petition to be my conservatory i dont want that because im capable. What are my options to preven
Nina Whitehurst
PREMIUM
Nina Whitehurst
answered on May 4, 2022

You will be contacted by a guardian ad litem appointed by the court to interview you. Explain your wishes to him or her.

You will also receive notice of a hearing. Attend the hearing and present your arguments.

Finally, consider hiring an attorney to represent you.

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning for Tennessee on
Q: If we prepare and execute a Tennessee Revocable Living Trust, do we need to (or would it be advisable to) record it?

Does our Trustee use the document to change deeds, titles, etc. upon our death?

Nina Whitehurst
PREMIUM
Nina Whitehurst
answered on Apr 3, 2022

The trust itself is ordinarily not recorded. But you might need to record a much shorter certification of trust some day. The attorney who helped you prepare your estate plan can help you with this.

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for Tennessee on
Q: My MIL recently passed away. Four years ago she Quit Claimed her house to My wife and I.

She was on Medicare and debt free except for some final hospital expenses. Can we change the deed over to our name to begin renovations or does it still need to go through probate? Thank you.

Anthony M. Avery
PREMIUM
Anthony M. Avery
answered on Mar 2, 2022

You have something mixed up: either she conveyed it to you and your wife; or died owning it. If she did not deed it already, then it is owned by her Heirs. In that circumstance, hire a competent attorney to search the title, determine heirship and record an Affidavit of Heirship.... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning for Tennessee on
Q: I signed agreements less than 24 hrs ago to sell my home. Is there a time period you can back out legally in TN.
Anthony M. Avery
PREMIUM
Anthony M. Avery
answered on Feb 23, 2022

No... Consult a competent TN attorney to examine your contract and look for contingencies not met. Specific Performance suits are not common.

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
PREMIUM
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
PREMIUM
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
PREMIUM
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
PREMIUM
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.

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