How long must a person be missing under Tennessee law to be considered deceased for estate and probate purposes?

Posted on Aug 13 2013 8:12PM by Attorney, Jason A. Lee

T.C.A. § 30-3-102 provides that an individual who has been absent from their place of residence and unheard of for a period of seven years, when the absence is not explained, is considered to be deceased under Tennessee law.  The state also provides that this presumption can be rebutted by specific proof with a hearing.  The specific statute T.C.A. § 30-3-102 provides as follows:


(a) A person absent from such person's place of residence and unheard of for seven (7) years or longer, whose absence is not satisfactorily explained, is presumed to be dead; provided, however, such presumption may be rebutted by proof.

(b) Exposure to specific peril shall be considered in every case. If during such absence the person has been exposed to a specific peril of death, this fact shall be considered by the court, or if there be a jury, shall be sufficient evidence for submission to the jury.

(c) If the clerks of the respective courts of record and/or the personal representatives have any funds belonging to such absentee who, upon the order of the court, is determined to be dead, such funds shall be distributed according to law as of the date of death of the absentee as determined by the court. The validity and effect of the distribution of the property shall be determined by the court having probate jurisdiction administering the estate.


When an individual is considered to be deceased under T.C.A. § 30-3-102 then the funds should be distributed pursuant to Tennessee law that existed at the time of the date of the death as determined by the court.  The Probate court has the power to determine appropriate distribution under Tennessee law in this circumstance (depending on whether it is with a will or without a will). 


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TAGS: Probate Process, Receivership - Missing Person, Tennessee Probate Law
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Jason A. Lee is a Member of Burrow Lee, PLLC. Contact Jason at 615-540-1004 or jlee@burrowlee.com for an initial consultation on wills estate planning and probate issues.

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Tennessee Wills and Estates Blog
Jason A. Lee, Member of Burrow Lee, PLLC
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Nashville, TN 37203
Phone: 615-540-1004
E-mail: jlee@burrowlee.com