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Probate Law



Tennessee law, as in most jurisdiction, addresses what happens to the assets and liabilities of an individual upon death.  In Tennessee, as in all states, an individual may exercise substantial control over their assets by the preparation and execution of a properly drafted will.  A properly drafted will may also generate substantial tax savings for the estate if the value of the estate exceeds the inheritance tax limits under state and federal law.

Under Tennessee law a will must be prepared in conformity with the requirements of the applicable statutes.  Generally, this requires a determination of whether the individual making the will (the testator or testatrix) has sufficient mental faculties to know what they are doing as well as the requirement that the will itself be witnessed by at least two (2) witnesses.  As a practical matter, a will is almost always executed in the presence of at least two witnesses and a notary public.

Some of the topics which are addressed in a typical will are

  • the nomination of an individual, individuals or business to serve as the executor or executrix of the probate estate during the period of administration;

  • a statement of whether the statutory bonding requirements (which can be expensive) are to be enforced or waived;

  • a statement of whether the statutory inventory requirement is to be enforced or waived;

  • a statement of whether the statutory accounting and reporting requirements are to be enforced or waived;

  • a plan of distribution which may include specific transfers (bequests) to individuals, entities or charities as well as the disproportionate distribution of assets to heirs and other beneficiaries of the estate;

  • the creation of one or more testamentary trusts; and

  • instructions on whether to sale or retain real estate interests.

If you, your parent or grandparent are in need of estate planning, please feel free to contact us for an appointment.


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Last Update: 07/13/2010