The Tennessee Intestacy Myth - Tressler & Associates, PLLC
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An empty will.

The Tennessee Intestacy Myth

There is a myth in Tennessee about intestacy that I hear often: if you die intestate, your property will naturally be distributed to the right people. By “right people,” they typically mean their family. While the property of an intestate decedent is distributed to your heirs, you cannot end the conversation there. Every state defines “heirs” as it sees fit. The progression of your belongings in Tennessee might not be quite what you would expect.

What Does Intestate Mean?

It’s best that we define a few important terms to begin breaking the Tennessee intestacy myth. When someone dies “testate,” it means that this person passes away with a valid Will. You can probably guess that “intestate” means dying without a valid Will.

How are Assets Distributed?

People usually make incorrect assumptions regarding the split of an estate between spouses and children. Most think that if they pass away intestate, everything will suddenly belong to their spouse. This is simply not true if you have children. If a spouse and no children survive someone who dies intestate, the surviving spouse will inherit everything. 

However, if a spouse and at least one child survive someone who dies intestate, the child and the spouse will both inherit some portion of the estate. If there are two surviving children, the spouse and each child will inherit one-third of the estate. If there are more than two surviving children, the spouse will inherit one-third and the children will split the remaining two-thirds of the estate. Bottom line, if your spouse and at least one child survive you, your spouse will not inherit your entire estate unless you create a Will stating so.

Create Your Will with Tressler & Associates Today

To be sure that you distribute your property to the right people, you should have a Will that explicitly outlines your plan for the property. Hopefully, it is now clear that this is important even if you simply want everything to go to your spouse. We would be glad to walk through this process with you.

Planning your estate can help prevent future difficulties for your family. Read more about our estate planning services.

Contact an attorney or call us: 615.444.2345

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