My husband recently died in TN (we are both residents of TN) but I can not find his will which was drawn up by US Army SJA in 1995 at Ft McClellan, AL. This post has since closed and I don't know if I can even get a copy of the will. All our property / assets are in both our names except one title to a vehicle. Is all property automatically mine? What am I'm required to do?
1 Answer from Attorneys
Regarding property jointly owned by you and your husband - title should automatically transfer to you upon his death. (In Tennessee, property owned by spouses is generally held with right of survivorship unless you specify otherwise).
If a vehicle was the only property solely in his name, you should be able to go to the County Clerk's office in the county where the car is registered and execute an Affidavit of Heirship. This affidavit, along with a copy of the death certificate, should be all it takes to register the vehicle in your name. See FAQ No. 21 on the Tennessee Secretary of State's website, which describes how to transfer title of a vehicle you've inherited: http://www.tn.gov/revenue/faqs/trfaqs.htm#21.
Assuming you don't locate your husband's will: If you have children, then under Tennessee law they are also heirs. If they are 18 or older, they will need to sign the Affidavit, as well. If you and your husband had no children, then you are the sole heir and only your signature is required on the Affidavit. (If you can't locate the will, then your husband is deemed to have died "intestate," which means that his estate is split between spouse and children - spouse receives a child's share or 30%, whichever is greater.)
I wish you the best, and hopefully this information is helpful.