Don’t make assumptions about beneficiaries

There are many misconceptions about inheritance laws—one of the most concerning beliefs regards who will receive your property when you pass away.

Without proper estate planning, there is no guarantee of asset distribution according to your wishes. A will allows you to dictate who will receive an inheritance. Getting things in writing is the best way to avoid a lengthy probate process and minimize disputes among your heirs.

Tennessee intestate succession

A court will distribute your property according to current state laws if you don’t have a valid will in effect at the time of death. But who would they name as heirs?

A childless marriage provides a spouse sole inheritance rights. Intestate succession involves the extended family without a surviving spouse.

Should there be no valid will, there’s generally an order in which the court would designate your assets. Consider the contributing factors in a decision:

  • If you are single and do not have children, your parent or parents would inherit your estate.
  • If you only have one living parent, they can anticipate receiving half of your estate, the remainder of which would be equally distributed among your siblings.
  • Without siblings, your assets would go to your nieces and nephews.
  • You don’t have any nieces or nephews? The court would distribute your assets between your maternal and paternal grandparents.
  • Without surviving grandparents, your aunts and uncles would become heirs.

Even if you have an altogether positive family dynamic, you would probably like things to go a certain way when you die. Having difficult conversations can help create understanding among your loved ones. However, you’d be wise to establish a will that specifies your desires.