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Topic: Solemn Form Probate

In Tennessee can a Will Submitted to Probate in Solemn Form be Challenged by a Later Filed Will Contest?

Posted on Apr 20 2014 10:12PM by Attorney, Jason A. Lee

The Tennessee Court of Appeals decision of In re: Estate of John Leonard Burke, No. M2012-01735-COA-R3-CV, 2013 WL 2258045 (Tenn. Ct. App. 2013) dealt with a situation where a will was submitted to probate in solemn form on December 19, 2011.  The trial court noted at that time that all potential beneficiaries had been served with notice of the hearing and that no objection was filed to the probate of the will.  On June 8, 2012, the deceased’s stepson filed a challenge to the will alleging that the will was “procured by the fraudulent inducement” of the deceased’s wife.  As a result, the question was whether this challenge, instituted approximately six months after the will was probated in solemn form, could be brought at that point. 


The Tennessee Court of Appeals ultimately held that when a will is submitted in solemn form under T.C.A. § 30-1-117(b) “a will contest must be initiated, if at all, prior to the entry of the final order admitting the will to probate in solemn form, not prior to the final order closing the estate.” Burke at 5.  Due to the fact the stepson in this case did not challenge the will until after the entry of the order entering the will in solemn form, the will contest was dismissed as untimely. 


Submitting a will in “solemn form” can be beneficial in certain circumstances although it is not necessarily justified in every case.  It can be beneficial if there is concern that one of the beneficiaries may want to contest the will at some point.  This can be a good strategy to force them to act rather quickly on the front end or forever lose the opportunity to contest the will. 


On the other side of things, if a party...

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TAGS: Solemn Form Probate, Probate Process, Wills, Will Contest, Tennessee Probate Law Comments [0]

What type of notice is required to be provided to beneficiaries under a testate (will) or intestate (no will) situation in Tennessee?

Posted on Mar 29 2013 3:44PM by Attorney, Jason A. Lee

Tennessee law requires that the personal representative for an estate must provide notice to beneficiaries under a will or to those entitled to receive distribution in an intestate situation (where there is no will) within sixty days after being appointed as the personal representative.  T.C.A. § 30-2-301(b)(1) provides as follows:


(b)(1) Except as provided in subdivision (b)(4), the personal representative, within sixty (60) days after entering on the administration, shall notify:

(A) Each legatee or devisee under the will that that person or entity is a beneficiary by sending, by first class mail or personal delivery, a complete copy of the will to those beneficiaries sharing in the residue of the estate, and by sending a copy of the paragraph or paragraphs of the will containing the bequests to those beneficiaries only receiving bequests; and

(B) Each residuary distributee of an intestate deceased person by sending that person a copy of the letters of administration.


After the notice has been provided to the beneficiaries the personal representative for the estate must provide, within the same sixty day notice period discussed above, notice to the clerk with an affidavit of compliance with the notice requirements under T.C.A. § 30-2-301.  Specifically, T.C.A. § 30-2-301(3) provides as follows:


Within the sixty-day period, the personal representative shall also execute and file with the clerk of the court an affidavit that the required copies have been mailed or delivered to the beneficiaries or distributees, and an explanation of efforts to identify and locate beneficiaries or distributees, if any, to whom copies have not yet been sent.

There is an exemption from the notice requirement when the personal representative is the sole beneficiary of the estate.  Compliance with the notice requirements is waived under T.C.A. § 30-2-301(4) in that situation.  Also, if the decedent's will was admitted to probate in solemn form then there is no requirement to notify under T.C.A. § 30-2-301.

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TAGS: Solemn Form Probate, Probate Process, Executor/Executrix, Notice Requirements, Tennessee Probate Law Comments [0]

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