When someone passes away in Tennessee, soon his or her loved ones will
need to determine if the decedent died “testate” or “intestate,”
that is if they don’t know already.
Upon the death of a person, their assets, real estate and personal belongings
will need to be distributed according to Tennessee law. This law can be
found in the Tennessee Code Annotated.
What does it mean to die testate or intestate?
Let’s say that your loved one recently passed away. If he or she
created a valid will before passing, then they are said to have died with a
will, or “testate.”
If your loved one died without having created a valid will, he or she died
“intestate.” Sometimes though, a person will create a will,
but the will does not deal with all of the decedent’s property.
When this happens, the person died
intestate in regard to the property that did not pass through their will.
There are certainly advantages to probate administration, such as clear
vesting of legal title where real estate passes through a will. In some
cases, if the value of property in an estate is less than $25,000, it
may be administered in a simplified manner under the Small Estates Act.
Note: Administration is
always necessary when some of the heirs demand administration, when there is
a dispute among the heirs, or if one or more of the heirs are minors (under 18).
When a Person Dies Intestate
It is not uncommon for someone to die intestate, even when they have a
great deal of wealth. Unfortunately, some people are uncomfortable contemplating
their death so they procrastinate until it’s too late and they are
killed by an injury or illness.
Other times, the individual is young and they think they have plenty of
time before they’ll need to create a will and/or trust. Then, they
are in an accident or become suddenly ill and die before creating a sound
estate plan, sometimes leaving behind a spouse and children who depended
on them for all manners of support.
My message to all families young and old alike: you’re never too
young to create an
Today, when a Tennessee resident dies without a will, after all of their
taxes, debts and charges against the estate are paid, then their property
passes to the heirs according to state laws, which is generally passed
on to the closest living relatives, and may include the decedent’s:
Under T.C.A. 31-2-108, any relatives of the decedent that were conceived
before his or her death but born thereafter shall inherit as if they were
born during the decedent’s lifetime.
If your loved one died intestate, I would be more than glad to answer your
questions and help explain your rights. For further information about
intestate estates, don’t hesitate to
contact my Nashville estate planning and