Probate Lawyers Johnson City TN

Trusted counsel explains Tennessee probate law

Preparing a will or administering the estate of a loved one requires sound legal advice. Massengill, Caldwell & Coughlin, PC has served the Tri-Cities region since 1909. Our current attorneys have more than 75 years of combined experience and thoroughly understand the intricacies of Tennessee wills and probate law.

What do I need to know when writing a will?

The simple act of preparing a will can greatly reduce the burden on your loved ones after you are gone. It helps ensure that your wishes are followed after your death. If you die without a will, your assets will be distributed to your heirs under Tennessee’s inheritance laws.

Wills vary in complexity and form, but they generally name an executor (person tasked with settling the estate), appoint guardians for children and leave property to designated beneficiaries. Below is some basic information about preparing a will in Tennessee:

  • Wills must be in writing.
  • You must be over the age of 18 and of sound mind to execute a valid will.
  • You must sign your will in the presence of two “disinterested” witnesses. Disinterested means that the witnesses are not named as beneficiaries in the will. The witnesses must also sign the will.
  • If the will is also notarized, the witnesses do not need to testify as to the will’s validity. Instead, the will is considered “self-proving.”
  • Your will should name an executor who will be in charge of ensuring that the terms of your will are carried out after your death.
  • You can amend the terms of a will by executing a “codicil” or drafting a new will.

Although you are not required to consult an attorney when preparing a will, it is advisable. An invalid or poorly drafted will might not protect your interests and could even lead to more confusion for your loved ones after your death.

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