Mt. Juliet and Lebanon TN

No one wants to think about death, but planning for the inevitable is essential. And yet, according to a survey earlier this year by, nearly 60 percent of all American adults lacked estate planning such as a will or living trust—although 76 percent of survey respondents also acknowledged that having a will was important. Even if you have a will, the distribution of assets from an estate could be delayed. The Law Office of Yancy Belcher wants to explore this issue, focusing on the concepts of elective shares for surviving spouses.

What is an elective share?

An elective share is a certain percentage of someone’s estate. This share can be claimed by the deceased’s surviving spouse.

Tennessee state law recognizes elective shares, which are intended to protect surviving spouses from being disinherited. A surviving spouse runs the risk of being disinherited if the decedent died without leaving a will behind. The deceased husband or wife may have made the decision to disinherit their spouse or leave only a small fraction of the estate in the existing will.

The size of the elective share is based on the length of the marriage, with the breakdown as follows: 

  • Married less than 3 years – 10 percent of the net estate
  • Married 3-5 years – 20 percent
  • Married 6-8 years – 30 percent
  • Married at least 9 years – 40 percent

In the event of couples that divorce and then choose to remarry, the total years of marriage are combined.

Claiming an elective share comes with certain specific guidelines

There’s a time limit. Tennessee state law stipulates that the surviving spouse has to notify the court about this decision to accept an elective share. The court must receive this notice within nine months of the death of the decedent. This time limit can be extended if there is any pending litigation related to the estate. The personal representative of the estate, such as the executor of the will, also must be notified.

Quality legal representation is a must

We understand that losing a spouse is a tragic and traumatic experience. It can be difficult to think of all the things you need to do. That’s why we recommend trusting all the paperwork regarding your estate to an attorney. The Law Office of Yancy Belcher has the experience you want in cases of this type. He’s been practicing in Middle Tennessee for 20 years in estate planning law. Our estate planning services include wills, trusts, gift planning, power of attorneys for health care decisions, and much more. We also can handle any litigation or dispute resolution needs that emerge.

It’s never too early to start planning for the inevitable. Make life for your loved ones easier by contacting a Mt. Juliet estate-planning attorney today. Call (615) 773-2889 to make an appointment for a free consultation.

The Law Office of Yancy Belcher is proud to serve our clients in the area of Nashville, TN, including Hermitage and Mt. Juliet.


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