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Topic: Receivership - Missing Person

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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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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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
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