Wills allow people to determine the distribution of their property upon their death. However, some individuals pass away before they have the opportunity to create one. When this happens, the court distributes the deceased’s assets according to the law.
Tennessee’s intestate laws
When a person dies without a valid will, that person is said to have died intestate. In these cases, the court determines the distribution of their assets based on the law. To whom the estate goes depends on the deceased’s surviving relatives. The possible scenarios are:
- The estate goes to the deceased’s spouse and children
- The estate goes to the deceased’s children if they had no surviving spouse
- The estate goes to the deceased’s spouse if they did not have children
- The estate goes to the deceased’s parents if they did not have a surviving spouse or child
- The estate goes to the deceased’s siblings if they did not have a surviving spouse, parent or child.
If there are no siblings or other close family members, the court will try to look for a more distant relative, like a cousin or a nephew. If there is absolutely no one to give the estate to, the state of Tennessee will take it.
Your right to express your wishes
Dying without a will won’t mean that your family won’t get a share of your assets. Still, it will result in the court distributing your estate according to the law and not in the way you would want to. Because of this, it is always better to have a will in place. That way, you can ensure the authorities follow your wishes when you are no longer here to express them.