last will and testament

When A Loved One Dies Without A Will

Nashville Wills and Estate Attorneys

No one wants to think about what will happen with your property once you are gone. There can be difficult decisions to make, and you may fear someone feeling left out or upset. But what you don’t realize is by not creating a will, the decisions will be made for you by the state. You will have no say in who gets what — everything will be equally divided.

The Nashville will lawyers at MHPS understand how hard these decisions can be. But creating a will is a necessary part of estate planning. Not only will your wishes be followed, but you will have peace of mind knowing that your family will be protected after you are gone. Our estate planning lawyers can help you establish a will and anything else you need for the future.

Family at ease after creating their wills

Couple discovers where to get a will done

How Does a Tennessee Will Work?

A will is a legal document that declares what you, the testator, want to be done with your estate after you pass away. It can explain which beneficiaries get what and also give instructions on who will become the guardian of your children. It can be as specific as you want – for example, if you want your cousin to receive your grandmother’s china after you’re gone, you can specify this in your will.

When writing a will, you need to choose an executor. This is the person who will make sure your assets are divided as you desired. In addition, the executor is responsible for paying any estate taxes or fees and handling any debts you may have left behind. If the executor fails in his/her job, this is considered a breach of fiduciary duty.

What Happens If You Die Without a Will?

Many people delay in creating a will. Either they’re anxious about planning for the future, believe they have all the time in the world to create one, or don’t think they have enough assets to need a will. But it’s important to know what will happen after you’re gone.

If you die without a will, your estate will become intestate. This means your estate will be settled by Tennessee law. Under the law, the state will determine who will inherit your property. If you were married without children, your spouse receives the entire estate. If you had children and were married, the estate is split between your spouse and children, depending on the size of the share. For example, if you have one child, the estate is split equally between your spouse and child. But if you have two children, your spouse only receives a third of the estate.

If the deceased did not have a spouse, the distribution goes as follows:

  • The children, if there are any
  • The parents, if they are still alive
  • The siblings or the siblings’ children
  • The grandparents

Intestacy laws do not consider any wishes you might have for your property or how your assets are distributed. This is why it’s so important to hire a will attorney to help plan for the future.

Couple discusses preparing their wills

Research materials for if you need a lawyer to make a will

Why You Should Keep Your Will Up to Date – Work with Will Lawyers

Whenever a major life change occurs, you should update your will. Some examples include:

  • Getting married or divorced;
  • Having a child;
  • The death of a family member or another beneficiary of your estate;
  • The executor or guardian is unable to act as such;
  • You want to name someone else as executor or guardian.

You should also review your will if there is a change in your estate, such as a change in the size of your estate, if you move to another state, or there’s a change in the law.


There are many misconceptions out there when it comes to preparing a valid will. At MHPS, we know you have questions. Take a look at this wills FAQ and these common questions and concerns and then, give us a call. We’re happy to help.

A will can be changed in Tennessee if you create a codicil. A codicil is more or less an amendment to a preexisting will that meets the same state requirements.

Be mindful that simply crossing out sections and writing new ones does not make your will valid. You need to follow the same steps to make sure your amendments are valid.

Tennessee wills do not need to be notarized but it can speed up the probate process.

To have a valid will in Tennessee, you must sign your will in front of two witnesses, and then, have the witnesses sign the will in front of you and one another.

Once you have created a valid will, any beneficiaries named are entitled to a copy of the will so they can understand what they are entitled to. In addition, if any beneficiaries are minors, you will want to give a copy to his or her legal guardian on their behalf.

A will determines how your assets will be distributed upon your death. Estate planning is the broad term that encompasses all of the documents which prepare for your end of life wishes, healthcare needs and financial planning which needs to take place if you cannot do so yourself.

A will is not enough when it comes to estate planning. A will only covers your assets once you pass, it does not encompass how you want trusts, insurance policies, etc. to be handled. In addition, a will does not cover the end of life needs if you are still alive, but in a state in which you cannot make decisions for yourself.

For some people, it is best to have both a will and a trust. A trust determines how you want your assets handled on behalf of your beneficiaries for when you pass. However, there are different types of trusts for different needs.

Some individuals may not need both a will and a trust, which is why it is best to consult with an attorney.

To create a valid will in Tennessee, you need a trusted estate planning attorney–like those of us at MHPS. We can guide you through the will creation process as well as evaluate what other estate planning measures should be taken.

Contact Nashville Wills and Estate Lawyers Today

Certain factors should be contemplated when creating a will. Although many DIY programs walk you through the process, it’s best to speak with our Tennessee will lawyers to help you through the process and make sure everything is set for when you do pass away. We will make sure your will is valid and no one will be able to contest it once you are gone. If you are considering creating a will, don’t hesitate much longer.

Contact the Nashville will lawyers at MHPS to start preparing for your family’s future today.