Current through Acts 2023-2024, ch. 47
Section 30-4-103 - Affidavit - Filing fees - Bond - Discharge
Whenever a decedent leaves a small estate, it may be administered in the following manner:(1)(A) After the expiration of forty-five (45) days from the date of the decedent's death, as evidenced by the death certificate, provided no petition for the appointment of a personal representative of the decedent has been filed in that period of time and the decedent's estate, one (1) or more of the decedent's competent adult heirs or next of kin, or any creditor proving that the creditor's debt on oath before the court, shall file with the clerk of the court an affidavit, along with a copy of the death certificate, which shall set forth the following:(i) That the decedent left no will requiring administration by the court having probate jurisdiction in the county where the decedent was domiciled;(ii) That the decedent had no interest in real property;(iii) An itemized description and the value of all the decedent's personal property, the names and addresses of all persons known to have possession of any of the decedent's personal property, including all insurance on the decedent's life payable to the decedent's estate;(iv) A list of unpaid debts left by the decedent and the name and address of each creditor and the amount due to that creditor; and(v) The name, address, relationship, and age, if a minor, of each heir entitled to receive any of the decedent's personal property, all of whom the affiant must notify of the filing of the affidavit by mailing a copy to their last known address, postage prepaid;(B) The form of the affidavit required by this section may be obtained from the clerk, if available, and must disclose that the affiant evidences by signature that, subject to the penalty for perjury:(i) The affidavit is not false or misleading;(ii) The affiant is not disqualified from serving because of having been sentenced to imprisonment in a penitentiary as set forth in § 40-20-115 or otherwise;(iii) The affiant is willing to preserve all personal property of the decedent and cancel all insurance policies that are no longer applicable due to the decedent's death; and(iv) That the affiant is mindful of all duties imposed upon the affiant by this chapter;(C) Upon the motion of one (1) or more of the decedent's competent adult heirs or next of kin, or upon its own motion, the court may, in its discretion for good cause shown, reduce the forty-five (45) day period required by subdivision (1)(A);(D) A competent adult who is not an heir or next of kin of the deceased, is allowed to file for a small estate limited letter of authority by the court if:(i) All competent adult heirs or next of kin consent in writing to the filing of the affidavit; and(ii) The person who is filing the affidavit pursuant to this chapter complies with all other provisions of this section, including the bond provisions contained in subdivision (6);(2) The court shall receive and file the original affidavit as a part of the court's permanent records, shall assign it a number and shall index it as other estates are indexed. The clerk shall deliver one (1) certified copy of the affidavit to the affiant onto which is affixed a clerk's stamp and seal certifying that the affidavit has been filed in the office of the probate court. Additional certified copies of the affidavit may be requested by the affiant at the time of filing the affidavit or any time prior to the affiant's discharge from liability as provided in subdivision (6). An affidavit may be amended to the extent that the aggregate amount does not exceed the statutory small estate limitation;(3) The clerk shall charge and receive such fees for processing a small estate and additional certified copies as authorized and provided in §§ 8-21-401 and 32-1-112;(4) The affiant shall make bond payable to the state for the benefit of those entitled with a corporate surety. The amount of the bond shall equal the value of the decedent's estate to be administered under this chapter. However, bond shall not be required of the affiant if: (A) The affiant or affiants are the sole heirs of the decedent; or(B) All adult heirs consent in writing;(5) Formal letters testamentary or letters of administration shall not be issued nor any creditor be allowed to file a claim in a small estate proceeding;(6) The affiant and the surety on the affiant's bond may be discharged from liability under the bond as follows:(A) The court may enter an order discharging the affiant and the surety on the affiant's bond after the affiant files, for a decedent dying before January 1, 2016, either the tax receipt issued pursuant to § 67-8-420 or the certificate issued pursuant to § 67-8-409(f) [See Compiler's Notes.]; or(B) The affiant and the surety on the affiant's bond may wait until the first anniversary of the filing of the affidavit when the court shall automatically discharge them from liability. The small estate affidavit limited letter of authority shall remain open and active until the first anniversary to allow for amendments or conversions to the original affidavit limited letter of authority.Amended by 2022 Tenn. Acts, ch. 665, s 2, eff. 7/1/2022.Amended by 2017 Tenn. Acts, ch. 290, s 5, eff. 5/4/2017.Amended by 2013 Tenn. Acts, ch. 360, s 1, eff. 7/1/2013.Acts 1972, ch. 687, § 3; 1980, ch. 626, § 1; 1981, ch. 444, §1; 1982, ch. 565, §§ 1, 2; T.C.A., § 30-2003; Acts 1988, ch. 854, §§10, 11; 1997 , ch. 426, §§ 13- 15; 2004, ch. 866, § 1; 2005, ch. 99, § 6; 2006, ch. 813, § 1.