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Tennessee Inheritance Tax – Is jointly held property considered part of the decedent’s taxable estate under Tennessee law?

Posted on Jul 29 2013 8:26AM by Attorney, Jason A. Lee

Under Tennessee law, jointly held property can be considered part of the deceased individual’s taxable estate.  T.C.A. § 67-8-305 discusses property transfers that occur upon someone’s death by right of survivorship (often under tenants by the entirety or tenancy by the entirety) or any payable on death accounts including joint accounts held in multiple people’s names.  Under T.C.A. § 67-8-305, if such transfers occur between husband and wife at the death of the decedent then only one half of the value of the account or property is considered a taxable transfer.  However, if the accounts or property are owned jointly by individuals who are not husband and wife then the “entire value of any such property shall be deemed to have been transferred from the decedent to the survivor” and therefore is subject to the Tennessee inheritance tax. 

 

Additionally, under subsection (a)(2) if the survivor who inherits from the decedent who had a joint account or owned joint property with the decedent actually contributed money towards the account or purchase, then that amount is deducted from the value that is considered to be part of the taxable estate.  In other words, if the survivor deposited money in the bank account or paid for part of the property that was jointly held, then that amount will reduce the taxable estate of the decedent.

 

T.C.A. § 67-8-305 provides in its entirety as follows:

 

(a) Whenever any property was held jointly by the decedent and one (1) or more persons as tenants by the entirety or otherwise, or was deposited in banks or other depositories or institutions in the joint names of the decedent and one (1) or more other persons and was payable to one (1) or more, or to the survivor or survivors, so that, upon the death of the decedent, the survivor or survivors became entitled to the immediate possession, ownership or enjoyment of such property, the entire value of any such property shall be deemed to have been transferred from the decedent to the survivor or survivors, and such transfer shall be subject to the inheritance tax imposed by parts 3-5 of this chapter, except:

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TAGS: Real Estate, Tennessee Inheritance Tax, Surviving Spouse Comments [0]
  
 

Tennessee law prevents people from inheriting any property or life insurance from a person if they were responsible for their death.

Posted on Jul 21 2013 3:25PM by Attorney, Jason A. Lee

Tennessee has a statute which governs whether an individual can inherit any property or recover any life insurance from a deceased individual if they were responsible for killing that deceased individual.  T.C.A. § 31-1-106 provides as follows:

 

Any person who kills, or conspires with another to kill, or procures to be killed, any other person from whom the first named person would inherit the property, either real or personal, or any part of the property, belonging to the deceased person at the time of the deceased person's death, or who would take the property, or any part of the property, by will, deed, or otherwise, at the death of the deceased, shall forfeit all right in the property, and the property shall go as it would have gone under § 31-2-104, or by will, deed or other conveyance, as the case may be; provided, that this section shall not apply to any killing done by accident or in self-defense.

 

It is important to note that this statute does not apply to any killing that was done by accident or in self-defense.  However, any killing beyond “accident” or “self-defense” prevents an individual from inheriting from the deceased.  It also prevents that person from basically obtaining any benefit as a result of the deceased individual's death as provided in this statute.  This would include obtaining property by Right of Survivorship in a joint ownership situation.

 

Follow me on Twitter at @jasonalee for updates from the Tennessee Wills and Estates blog.
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TAGS: Life Insurance, Real Estate, Tennessee Probate Law Comments [0]
  
 

What happens to a missing person's property in Tennessee if they go missing?

Posted on Jul 15 2013 9:39PM by Attorney, Jason A. Lee

T.C.A. § 30-3-104 provides a specific procedure for the appointment of a receivership for an individual who has gone missing from their place of residence.  Specifically, T.C.A. § 30-3-104(a) provides as follows:

 

(a) When a person domiciled in this state and having an interest in any form of property disappears and is absent from the person's place of residence without being heard of after diligent inquiry, upon application for a finding of such disappearance and absence and of the necessity for the appointment of a receiver to the chancery court of the county of the absentee's domicile by any person who would have an interest in the property were the absentee deceased or by an insurer or surety or creditor of such absentee, after notice as provided in § 30-3-106 and upon good cause being shown, the court may find that the person was last heard of as of a date certain and may appoint a receiver to take charge of the person's estate. The absentee shall be made a party to the proceeding, and any other person who would have an interest in the property were the absentee deceased, upon direction by the court, may be made party to the proceeding.

 

Essentially, this statute provides a procedure for interested individuals to pursue a receivership for someone’s property if they are missing.  Interested individuals who can pursue such a receivership include someone who would have an interest in the property if the person was deceased (a beneficiary under a will or pursuant to intestate succession).  Another category of interested parties would be an insurer or creditor of the missing party.  Under this statute the interested party can request the court to appoint a receivership to take care of the estate.  Essentially, the receiver controls and manages the estate.  T.C.A. § 30-3-104(b) provides as follows:

 

(b) The receiver, upon giving bond to be fixed in amount and with surety to be approved by the court, and upon such conditions as will insure the conservation of such property, shall, under the direction of the court, administer the property as an equity receivership with power:

(1) To take possession of all property of the absentee wherever situated;

(2) To collect all debts due the absentee;

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TAGS: Receivership - Missing Person Comments [0]
  
 

Can an individual who benefits under a will serve as a witness to the execution of a will in Tennessee?

Posted on Jul 7 2013 10:41PM by Attorney, Jason A. Lee

An individual who benefits under a will can serve as an attesting witness to the execution of a will, however, there is a great risk they will forfeit some or all of the benefits they would recover under the will.  T.C.A. § 32-1-103(a) directs that "any person competent to be a witness generally in this state may act as attesting witness to a will."  However, T.C.A. § 32-1-103(b) provides there is a great risk for an individual who will inherit under a will to serve as a witness to the signing of a will by the testator.  This statute provides as follows:

 

(b) No will is invalidated because attested by an interested witness, but any interested witness shall, unless the will is also attested by two (2) disinterested witnesses, forfeit so much of the provisions therein made for the interested witness as in the aggregate exceeds in value, as of the date of the testator's death, what the interested witness would have received had the testator died intestate.

 

As a result, it is always best practice for any individual who would or could inherit under a will to not serve as a witness to the execution of the will by the testator.  The exclusion is not absolute but it is simply best practice to not serve as a witness under this circumstance.  T.C.A. § 32-1-103(c) defines what individuals are considered to be "interested" under the statute as follows:

 

(c) No attesting witness is interested unless the will gives to the attesting witness some personal and beneficial interest.

 

Additionally, T.C.A. § 32-2-1...

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TAGS: Probate Process, Wills, Witnesses to will, Execution, Tennessee Probate Law Comments [0]
  
 

Debtor and creditor notice requirements for the administration of a Tennessee probate estate.

Posted on Jul 1 2013 9:50PM by Attorney, Jason A. Lee

Tennessee law requires the provision of notice to debtors and creditors after an individual dies and a probate estate is opened.  T.C.A. § 30-2-306 requires the personal representative (the Executor, Executrix or Administrator of the probate estate) to provide notice to all creditors with "whom the personal representative has actual knowledge or who are reasonably ascertainable by the personal representative, at the creditor's last known address."  The complete requirements are listed in T.C.A. § 30-2-306(d) which provides as follows:

 

(d) In addition, it shall be the duty of the personal representative to mail or deliver by other means a copy of the published or posted notice as described in subsection (b) to all creditors of the decedent of whom the personal representative has actual knowledge or who are reasonably ascertainable by the personal representative, at the creditors' last known addresses. This notice shall not be required where a creditor has already filed a claim against the estate, has been paid or has issued a release of all claims against the estate.

 

Additionally, the clerk of the court where the estate is administered is required to provide public notice to creditors and debtors within 30 days after the issuance of letters testamentary or administration.  This notice is to be provided in a newspaper or public place pursuant to the statute.  The specifics of T.C.A. § 30-2-306(a) are as follows:

 

(a) Except as provided in subsection (e), it is the duty of the clerk of the court in which an estate is being administered, within thirty (30) days after the issuance of letters testamentary or of administration, to give, in the name of the personal representative of the estate, public notice of the personal representative's qualification as such by two (2) consecutive weekly notices published in some newspaper of the county in which letters testamentary or of administration are granted, or, if no newspaper is published in that county, by written notices posted in three (3) public places in the county, one (1) of which shall be posted at the usual place for posting notices at the courthouse.

 

This statute makes it clear that it is the duty of the personal representative to identify known creditors and to investigate potential creditors of the estate.  This does not require a search to the ends of the earth, but does require a reasonable...

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TAGS: Probate Process, Creditor claims, Notice Requirements, Tennessee Probate Law Comments [0]
  
 
Author

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
611 Commerce Street, Suite 2603
Nashville, TN 37203
Phone: 615-540-1004
E-mail: jlee@burrowlee.com

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