Estate Law Questions? Ask an Estate Lawyer.
Good morning. My name is ***** ***** I look forward to helping you. If your dad died without a will, whether or not you were close, his probate estate is inherited under the Tennessee intestate succession laws. And, if you were his only child and he had no surviving spouse, you would inherit 100% of his probate estate. It's important to realize that not all of his assets are part of his probate estate. Certain assets pass outside probate and thus are not governed by the intestacy succession laws. These include the following: i) joint brokerage and bank accounts which vest automatically in the surviving owner upon the death of one owner; ii) real property held as joint tenants or tenants by the entirety, which also vest automatically in the surviving owner upon the death of one owner; and iii) assets with designated beneficiaries other than the estate such as life insurance and retirement accounts. With regard to the other assets, whoever has taken control of your dad's estate needs to distribute these assets to you pursuant to the intestate succession laws. if that person fails to do so, you can file a petition with the probate court in the county in which your dad resided at his death to recover these assets and to award you actual and punitive damages against this person who unlawfully took control of assets that rightfully should have been transferred to you. In your situation, I would put this person on written notice by certified letter of the foregoing and inform him that unless this is resolved within a short specified period of time, you will be filing a petition with the court to compel action.
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