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What happens if a Tennessee resident dies without a will?

| Mar 4, 2021 | Estate Planning |

An estate plan is more than just a will, but wills serve important roles in the identification of beneficiaries and assets when a person dies. Through a will a person may name who they want their minor children to live with if the parent dies, and to whom the will drafter wants specific property to pass from their estate. A will provides information and direction to survivors after the death of its creator.

When a person dies without a will or plan in place for the distribution of their assets, Tennessee’s laws of intestate succession may be used to distribute their assets. This post will generally discuss intestacy laws in Tennessee. No legal advice is offered in the contents of this informational post.

Intestacy in Tennessee

When a person dies without a will, they are said to have died intestate. If they are married, then under intestacy laws their estate will pass fully to the spouse if there are no children surviving the decedent. If there are children living in addition to the decedent’s spouse, then each will receive a share of the decedent’s estate.

When a person dies without a spouse or kids, the distribution of their estate becomes more complex. Intestacy laws look the decedent’s family tree to their parents, and down the branches to their siblings and further issue. Intestacy laws keep climbing the family tree to find individuals who can inherit from the intestate estate.

How to avoid intestacy

There is an easy way to prevent the laws of intestate succession from controlling one’s end of life estate: make an estate plan. A dedicated estate planning attorney can help a person prepare the documents they need to have their testamentary needs met. Estate plans can be crafted to meet individual goals and desires, and any person who is ready to create one can do so with sound legal advice.