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In Our Judgment

The official Frantz, McConnell, and Seymour, LLP blog.

Estate Planning: It’s for the Children (of all kinds)

Estate Planning: It’s for the Children (of all kinds)

In Tennessee, a person can leave his estate pretty much to whoever he wants.*  Of course, when a person dies without a will, the State of Tennessee provides for how property is divided.  See the blog article entitled, "When Aunt Becky Had No Will."   

If a person has no will, there are differences in how “children” are treated.  Under Tenn. Code Ann. §31-1-101(1), for purposes of inheritance, a “child” is a natural born or adopted child.  The statute specifically excludes a stepchild or foster child as a “child”.   

You can see how unfortunate problems can occur when there is no will.  A person can raise a stepchild or foster child from infancy and, unless the person makes provisions in their will, the stepchild or foster child will inherit nothing.  

A properly drafted will enables a person to distribute their estate as they want, without depending on the survivors to “do what’s right”.  A will can avoid family friction and hard feelings for years after a death.

If you would like to speak to James Wagner on this or any other matter, he may be reached at (865) 546-9321.

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 *The big exception is that you cannot completely disinherit a spouse by will.  Tenn. Code Ann. §31-4-101 et seq.

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