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What Are the Rules of Intestate Succession in Tennessee?

While losing a loved one in an accident or due to a negligence of another is devastating, sometimes the issue is even more complicated than simply trying to make the tortfeasor accountable. While wrongful death gives dependents, spouse and parents of the deceased the right to collect financial compensation for their losses, what happens after that? Where do the deceased’s assets go?

Dying Without a Will in Tennessee

In Tennessee, if one dies with a will in place, the decedent’s estate will go through probate, a process during which the courts determine whether or not the will is valid. If determined valid, the court will subsequently transfer to the heirs and the people named in the will the property that was willed to them.

If one dies without a will however, Tennessee law sets forth where a person’s assets are to be distributed. If a decedent left a spouse without any children, the spouse will receive the entire estate. If the decedent left behind a spouse and one child, they would both split the estate equally. However, if the decedent left a spouse and more than one child, the surviving spouse receives “at least one-third” of the estate.

If the decedent leaves only children behind and no spouse, each child will receive an equal share of the estate. Under Tennessee law, adopted children have the same status as biological children. If there are no surviving children of the decedent, the parents of the decedent are next in line to recover in equal shares of the entire estate. If the decedent does not have a spouse, children, or parents, then the estate is divided up equally between his/her siblings, or the siblings children if the sibling is also no longer alive. If the decedent does not even have siblings, then the estate will be divided equally amongst his/her grandparents.

It is important to note that these default intestacy laws do not account for specific wishes of the decedent, or special relationships one may have with a particular family member. As a result, it is always recommended you make a will to curtail any ambiguity.

Reach Out to Us for Help

At the office of Calhoun Law, PLC, we will fight to achieve justice for you and your family. We understand the pain and frustration of losing a family member, and the subsequent headaches involved beyond trying to make the tortfeasor accountable. In addition to going after the tortfeasor, sometimes you may find that civil litigation is necessary to hash out issues involving the cost of the funeral, estate proceeds, and inheritances. If you have lost a family member and have questions on intestate succession in Nashville, contact us today for a free and confidential consultation.

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