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Tennessee Estate Planning Questions & Answers
1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning for Tennessee on
Q: my children’s trustee refuses to give me any information regarding my children’s trusts and also has refused to pay any

installments claiming they can only be for educational and medical when it clearly includes maintenance and adequate care she has put in writing that she is aware now if ever the kids need disbursements because of our financial impact with the covid situation but says she isn’t allowed for any... Read more »

Nina Whitehurst
Nina Whitehurst answered on Jul 1, 2020

There is at least a 50% chance that what the children’s trustee is telling you is correct, but if you want a second opinion, you can take the trust to an attorney to review it. Look for an estate planning attorney or an attorney who does fiduciary litigation.

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning for Tennessee on
Q: My 29yr old daughter passed away and she lived with her grandparents. Can I retrieve her belongings?

She was disabled and had nothing of real value. The grandparents are refusing to give me any of her possessions. What is my recourse?

Anthony M. Avery
Anthony M. Avery answered on Jun 30, 2020

Small Estate Affidavit might work with you as the Administrator.

2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning for Tennessee on
Q: . Grandfather died without a will and no beneficiary on alife insurance policy.What do you do Hamilton County,Tn
Shanone Emmack
Shanone Emmack answered on Jun 22, 2020

It depends on what the life insurance policy says happens upon death. It will likely go into his estate which means someone will need to open the estate and start the probate process. You should hire an attorney to assist you.

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1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning for Tennessee on
Q: Can an executor named in the will open an estate bank account when probate is not required?

Is a copy of the will naming the executor sufficient to open an estate bank account when a "letter of testamentary"

does not exist because the estate was not required to go through probate according to the statutes of that particular state (TN)?

Anthony M. Avery
Anthony M. Avery answered on Jun 4, 2020

I am not aware of any State that legally requires Probate Administration for every decedent. But anyway the so called executor may have actually filed a Will for Probate that you do not know about. You probably need to call the Chancery and/or Probate Courts for the Counties in which you feel... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning for Tennessee on
Q: My mother is bed ridden, has brain cancer, can we hand write her will or record it , like on a phone?
Nina Whitehurst
Nina Whitehurst answered on May 12, 2020

Your MOTHER can write out a will entirely in her own handwriting and sign and date it. If she is not able to do that, read more here about other options:

https://www.cumberlandlegacylaw.com/what-makes-a-will-valid

There is an art to drafting wills correctly, and most non-lawyers,...
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1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning, Family Law, Tax Law and Civil Rights for Tennessee on
Q: I received a stimulus check made out to my father who deceased Mar 2019. Do I return or keep it?
Zaher Fallahi
Zaher Fallahi answered on Apr 25, 2020

Sorry about the passing of your father. Yes, you return it with a letter explaining the father's death. Good luck.

Disclaimer: This is not intended for, and may not be construed, as legal or tax advice. For specific advice please consult your legal counsel.

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning, Insurance Bad Faith, Insurance Defense and Probate for Tennessee on
Q: Can my grandpa file a claim against my deceased grandma's estate for our insurance policies?

My grandmother owned life insurance policies on my grandpa and myself. We want to cash them out because they are horrible policies. They were supposed to transfer ownership to my grandpa but never did after we filled out the paperwork. Now they are saying we need all of my grandmother's heirs... Read more »

Nina Whitehurst
Nina Whitehurst answered on Apr 1, 2020

You did not state this, but it sounds like your grandmother has passed and there are things still in her name, such as these life insurance policies. You should contact a probate attorney to help you with getting those assets retitled. The type of process that will be needed will depend on more... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning for Tennessee on
Q: I am heir to an estate of my friend that left his 2 dogs to me. The section of the will that would detail the money to

care for what he called his "boys" is missing. He left a voicemail stating he is leaving money to last the rest of their lives. 15 years life left for Butch and 2.5 for Bear. These of course are guesstimates. Where can I get reports , scientific or previous cases similar to mine to show... Read more »

Anthony M. Avery
Anthony M. Avery answered on Mar 20, 2020

The audio recording of a bequest is not enforceable. Only the written Will that is probated can be enforced. Apparently you have made a very serious mistake in assuming you were an "heir" and taking it upon yourself to care for Estate assets. If there is a funded Trust for the benefit... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Civil Litigation and Estate Planning for Tennessee on
Q: My father passed with no will my siblings agreed to me be being executive of the estate

It is also agreed that I can keep the house if the mortgage company allows and all the contents.My father had three step children that are pushing me to probate. I know they have no legal right to anything in his estate but I'm ok with them getting things they want and that goes for all. Is... Read more »

Anthony M. Avery
Anthony M. Avery answered on Mar 17, 2020

You have not stated a need for a Probate Administration. But if the Estate is large enough, or there are certain type of assets, then Probate may be necessary. Consult with a competent attorney. The Title to the home should be simple, with someone executing and recording an Affidavit of... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning for Tennessee on
Q: If my husband passes before changing his will, who will benefit?

My husband's will was written during his previous marriage with his ex-wife and daughter as beneficiaries. He has every intention of changing it but has not yet. My concern is losing the house which is solely in his name and having to start all over because I did not receive anything from his... Read more »

Nina Whitehurst
Nina Whitehurst answered on Mar 9, 2020

If your husband dies without changing his will, his estate will pass as if his former wife (still mentioned in the will) had predeceased him. It doesn't revoke the whole will, however, so chances are his daughter would inherit his entire estate, subject to your right to take an elective share... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for Tennessee on
Q: I have put my bank accounts with a POD beneficiary. And have life insurance with beneficiaries.

My total assets left are worth about $1,000 $500 for a car and $500 for clothes, furniture, etc Do I need to have my will probated in Tennessee? I may have some credit card balances, but no cash to pay

Nina Whitehurst
Nina Whitehurst answered on Mar 7, 2020

For an estate that small there is an abbreviated procedure using a small estate affidavit that gets filed with the court. The filing fee varies depending on whether the decedent had a will or not and whether bond is waived but it is usually about $105 for the filing fee and around $100 for the bond... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning for Tennessee on
Q: Husband died. All assets were jointly owned except 1 Roth account worth $30K. Do I have to name our 2 adult children as

heirs when I file my small estate affidavit in Rutherford county Tennessee. All I am looking to do is transfer husbands funds into my own Roth account. Technically there was no will, but I did find a handwritten, signed paper from my husband stating that all his worldly possessions were left to me.

Frank J. Steiner
Frank J. Steiner answered on Mar 4, 2020

The Roth account might have a beneficiary identified - Check with the institution holding the Roth account. You may not need to open a small estate

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for Tennessee on
Q: My cousin is selling my deceased grandparents house . My father their son is deceased as well. Do I have any right

Do I have any right to the selling of the house .

Anthony M. Avery
Anthony M. Avery answered on Mar 2, 2020

Not sure of your question. But if the surviving grandparent died intestate, then you are probably one of the Heirs At Law. Hire a competent attorney to perform a title search, and possibly execute and record an Affidavit of Heirship. If you are an Heir, then either intercede in the proposed... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning for Tennessee on
Q: If I made administrator of the estate and put the house in my name, is it legally mine in Tennessee?
Nina Whitehurst
Nina Whitehurst answered on Feb 28, 2020

Being the administrator of an estate is not the same as being the heir. It is the duty of the administrator to see to it that the assets of the decedent are properly transferred to the heirs named in the decedent's will or, if the decedent had no will, then to the decedent's heirs at... Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning for Tennessee on
Q: My son and I will be moving to Knoxville to live close to my brothers. He, Justin is a 28 yo man with IDD. He will own

Home and have SSI and Medicaid. Once he enters a group home,I suppose Medicaid will put a lien against his house, but when it sells, won’t it put him over the limit and then not be able to reside in the group home?

Nina Whitehurst
Nina Whitehurst answered on Feb 12, 2020

There is a lot of missing but necessary information in this scenario. This is perfectly understandable because you do not know what information is relevant. You and your son should schedule a consultation with a Tennessee attorney experienced with special needs planning.

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for Tennessee on
Q: Is it legal in a civil case for a judge to rule against you if you are physically unable to be at set court date?

My grandma left me part of her estate when she passed away. She Appointed one of my cousins as Trustee of her estate. I went to jail for a period of 4 months. While in there I was served with papers accusing me of damages to the house that I did not do and a court date was set. I was physically... Read more »

Anthony M. Avery
Anthony M. Avery answered on Feb 5, 2020

You might file a Rule 60 Motion now within 1 year of the Judgment. You need to be very convincing of your legal disabilities at the time. But even if you are in jail, you need to file papers (including handwritten in pencil) with the Court. Default Judgments are often set aside. You should... Read more »

2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning and Real Estate Law for Tennessee on
Q: May children of the deceased use an Affidavit of Heirship in Tennessee to legally sell real estate (house) to neighbor?

House in Paris, TN owned by father and mother with TennCare assessment. Father passed in 2015 while mother was in nursing home with dementia. Family was advised by attorney that estate needed to be opened. Both had wills which appointed each other as Execs with me as alternate, but were drawn up... Read more »

Bennett James Wills
Bennett James Wills answered on Jan 29, 2020

You haven't asked a question. What do you want to do? File a complaint against your former attorney? Sell the house? You would be wise to hire another attorney to discuss options and determine the best course of action.

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2 Answers | Asked in Estate Planning and Real Estate Law for Tennessee on
Q: Me and my family have been living in the same house for 15 years and still are. We have a lease and deed.

We have rent to own the house for 15 years. But the landlord who owns the house is wanting to kick us out because of her grandson is wanting to move in it. She dropped the lease and deed without us knowing. She dropped it 5 years ago and just told us recently 5 months that she had dropped the... Read more »

Bennett James Wills
Bennett James Wills answered on Jan 27, 2020

You would be wise to hire an attorney asap to review the relevant documents and file the appropriate lawsuit.

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1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning, Real Estate Law and Tax Law for Tennessee on
Q: my father quit claimed his home to me in Nov. 2019. We are trying to sell the home, due to he lives with me now. can i

quit claim it back to him? Would this avoid capital gain at sale? he has lived there for 30 years and out for 3 months

D. Mathew Blackburn
D. Mathew Blackburn answered on Jan 25, 2020

You can. As long as it was his primary residence for 2 of the last 5 years the first $250k of gain will be excluded.

You still have a gift to you then a gift back, then a sale with a lump sum of cash. So your going to need to look at gift tax returns, likely no tax owed, and potential...
Read more »

1 Answer | Asked in Estate Planning and Probate for Tennessee on
Q: My mother has dementia and my sister is her POA. My father recently passed and my mother is executrix..

The will states if my mother passed things go on to be split between my sister and I does this make my sister executrix or would that be us

Anthony M. Avery
Anthony M. Avery answered on Jan 15, 2020

The sister is not the executrix here. If there is an actual Probate, then the substitute executrix takes charge, or the Court will appoint someone. If no Probate, then that Will has no effect. Your problem is that your

sister is now in control of both Parents' property due to...
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