Under Tennessee law, a decedent’s estate must be opened with the probate court in the county where the decedent lived. The beneficiaries of the decedent’s estate must be provided with a copy of the petition to open the estate and a copy of the decedent’s will (if one exists).
In 2012 Tennessee enacted a law which will phase out the Tennessee inheritance tax effective January 1, 2016. For decedent’s who die prior to 2016 a Tennessee inheritance tax return is due nine months from the decedent’s date of death and any Tennessee inheritance tax must be paid.
The personal representative should make no distributions of estate assets to the beneficiaries without first consulting his or her legal advisors. Normally no distributions are made to the beneficiaries until the estate and inheritance tax returns have been approved and all lawful claims against the estate have been satisfied.