Probate Proceedings in Tennessee & A Look at the Notice Requirements Applicable to Estate Creditors

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PROBATE PROCEEDINGS IN TENNESSEE & A LOOK AT THE NOTICE REQUIREMENTS APPLICABLE TO ESTATE CREDITORS

December 14, 2005 (submitted by Vanessa Cross in partial fulfillment of the requirements for Tennessee Procedure Seminar with Prof. Lawrence A. Pivnick, B.A., J.D., LL.M.)

Historically, state probate statutes establishing the notice standard applicable to estate creditors served to further expeditious estate settlement by imposing short-term nonclaim statutory bars against claims not brought within the statutes time frame.1 For most statutes, notice by publication was usually sufficient.2 In Tulsa Professional Collection Services v. Pope,3 the United States Supreme Court expressly extended the actual notice standard articulated in Mullane v. Central Hanover Bank and Trust Co.4 to estate creditors in probate proceedings when the nonclaim statute was not-self-executing.5 This was a victory for estate creditors, but added responsibilities to the executor of an estate. In Tennessee, some post-Pope cases have brought to light that even when “actual notice” is sent by a personal representative, the content of the notice must be sufficient to meet Due Process Clause demands.6 This essay examines probating an estate in Tennessee with special emphasis on the notice requirements between a personal representative and estate creditors.

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DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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