In Tennessee what are the Requirements for Making a Payment out of a Probate Estate when an Heir cannot be Located?

Posted on Nov 18 2013 9:33AM by Attorney, Jason A. Lee

T.C.A. § 30-2-702 discusses what happens when the personal representative of an estate for a deceased person is ready to make a final report and distribution settlement and an heir cannot be located.  If an individual who is an heir or who is entitled to a distribution from the estate cannot be located then such share must be paid to the state treasurer as discussed in T.C.A. § 30-2-702 which provides as follows:


(a) Whenever the personal representative of the estate of any deceased person in this state is ready to make a final report and settlement, and is prevented or precluded from making final settlement, because there is no personal representative of the estate of a deceased distributee to receive the share due that distributee or one (1) or more payees or distributees cannot be located or for any reason refuses to receive the share due that distributee, the personal representative shall pay or deliver the share due any such distributee to the state treasurer, to be handled in accordance with title 66, chapter 29, part 1, relating to unclaimed property, and show the payment or delivery in the report.


(c) If the personal representative of the estate of a deceased person is unable to locate a distributee and that distributee's share of the estate is either personal property of nominal value or a monetary legacy of nominal value, the personal representative may request instructions from the court concerning the amount, if any, which should be spent in locating the distributee and whether the amount spent in locating the distributee should be a general expense of the estate or a charge against the lost distributee's share and the disposition of the property if the distributee cannot be found, which disposition may include the authority to sell any tangible personal property.


T.C.A. § 66-29-101 et seq. as referenced in this statute is the Tennessee’s “Uniform Disposition of Unclaimed Property Act”.  The Uniform Disposition of Unclaimed Property Act provides guidance on how the State of Tennessee handles unclaimed property.  As a result, the distribution will be made to the state treasurer to be held until claimed under the Unclaimed Property Act and the rules provided in those statutes (for the most part – see T.C.A. § 30-2-703 discussed below).


T.C.A. § 30-2-703 provides that if assets or money are paid to the state treasury under T.C.A. § 30-2-702, then that property "shall not become the property of the state, but shall be and remain trust property demandable at any time by the owner or by the guardian of any owner, distributee or by the personal representative of any deceased owner." 


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TAGS: Probate Process, Tennessee Probate Law
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Jason A. Lee is a Member of Burrow Lee, PLLC. Contact Jason at 615-540-1004 or jlee@burrowlee.com for an initial consultation on wills estate planning and probate issues.

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Tennessee Wills and Estates Blog
Jason A. Lee, Member of Burrow Lee, PLLC
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Phone: 615-540-1004
E-mail: jlee@burrowlee.com