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Who Inherits If I Die Without a Will? (Tennessee)

Posted by Nina Whitehurst | Aug 14, 2019 | 0 Comments

I often get asked who inherits if someone dies without a will.  This is called dying "intestate", and there are laws that specify who inherits.  The persons that inherit are called "heirs at law".  This post covers who inherits if a person domiciled in Tennessee dies without a will.  State laws vary, so do not rely on this for any other state.

If at the time of death the decedent was:

Who Inherits


Married with no living descendants

Surviving spouse

Married with at least one living descendant

Spouse gets a child's share but not less than 1/3. Issue of same degree take equally; remote degree by representation.

Unmarried, no living descendants, at least one parent alive

Parent(s) then living

Unmarried, no living descendants, both parents deceased

Living siblings and descendants of deceased siblings.   Deceased siblings take by representation

Unmarried, no living descendants, both parents deceased, no living siblings or issue of siblings.

Living grandparents and their descendants (e.g. aunts, uncles, cousins).  Half to paternal side, half to maternal side or all to one side if no living grandparents or their issue on the other side. Go no further up the line than grandparents. Other issue of great grandparents do not take.

If you need help probating the estate of a Tennessee resident who died without a will, call us.  We can help.

About the Author

Nina Whitehurst

Attorney at Law Nina has been practicing law for over 30 years in the areas of estate planning, real estate and business law She is currently licensed in Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Oregon and Tennessee. Her Martindale-Hubbell attorney rating is the highest achievable: 5 stars in peer...


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