Requirements for a valid will in Tennessee

On Behalf of | Nov 16, 2020 | Estate Planning

When there are questions about the validity of a will, it can lead to will contests and other complications. These can prolong the probate process and delay the distribution of the decedent’s property. 

To prevent problems such as these from arising following death, a person making out a will in Tennessee should be sure that it meets the requirements for validity under state law. Section 32 of the Tennessee Code details these requirements. 

Witnesses

Generally speaking, the law requires at least two witnesses to attest to a will’s validity. They are eligible as long as they meet the standard of competence, i.e., they are of sound mind and over the age of 18. 

An interested witness is one who stands to benefit from a provision in the will. Tennessee law does not invalidate wills witnessed by an interested party. However, for the interested witness to inherit fully according to the will’s provisions, there must also be at least two disinterested witnesses. 

Signature

According to FindLaw, the testator must sign his or her own name in the presence of at least two witnesses for the will to be valid. If the testator is unable to sign his or her own name, someone else can sign the testator’s name to the document at his or her direction and in his or her presence. 

Holographic wills

A holographic will is one in which the testator writes out the material provisions of the will and signs it in his or her own handwriting. Tennessee law allows holographic wills and does not require witnesses to the signature. However, it is necessary to prove that the testator’s handwriting is authentic. 

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