Is Your Out of State Will Valid in Tennessee?

Recently, I have received several inquiries regarding the validity of an out of state will or a will that was drafted outside of Tennessee. Many people want to know whether their will that was drafted in another state like Colorado or Florida has the same effect as a will drafted in Tennessee. It’s obviously a great question because there are a number of technicalities that can easily nullify the validity of a will. The ramifications of an invalid will can spell trouble for all of those involved. The good news is that most states have the same or very similar requirements for what are known as attested wills. Although there are different types of wills, attested wills are the most common and are typically typed up by an attorney or legal service and signed by the testator (the person whose will it is). If you have questions about your will, be sure to contact the Nashville wills attorneys at The Higgins Firm.

In Tennessee, there are general requirements for any type of will to be valid. These general requirements go to the qualifications of the testator. First, the testator must actually intend that the particular instrument or document operates as his or her will at the time of its signing. Also, the testator must also be over the age of 18, the age of majority in Tennessee. In addition, the testator must be “of sound mind,” which means the person must have the mental capacity to understand that he or she is executing a will and its effect.

Similar to the general requirements for a will, there are certain requirements specifically for the execution of a valid attested will. These requirements go to the execution or signing of the document. Attested wills must be signed by the testator or by another person at the testator’s direction and in his or her presence. Also, there must be two witnesses. The testator must sign the will (or acknowledge his or her previous signature or the will) in each of the witnesses’ presence. Further, the witnesses must sign in the testator’s presence.  The testator must also inform the witnesses that he or she is signing a will rather than another legal document. Finally, the witnesses must sign in the presence of each other.

If your attested will has met these requirements, it is likely that the will is indeed valid in Tennessee. Although, there may be some issues regarding any cited law within the document, Tennessee law will govern any will probated within Tennessee. For instance, if your will cites to a particular Indiana statute or any other state’s statute, that particular statute will not apply in a Tennessee court. Rather, Tennessee law will determine the issue.

If you have questions about the validity of your will or any other questions related to estate planning documents in Tennessee, we encourage you to contact the Nashville wills lawyers at The Higgins Firm. Our Nashville based team of estate planning attorneys would be happy to answer your questions.