Whenever a decedent leaves a small estate, it may be administered in the following manner:

    1. After the expiration of forty-five (45) days from the date of decedent’s death, provided no petition for the appointment of a personal representative of the decedent has been filed in that period of time and decedent’s estate is a small estate within the meaning of this chapter, one (1) or more of decedent’s competent, adult legatees or devisees or personal representatives named in the decedent’s will, if a will was left, or heirs or next of kin, if no will was left, or in either a testate or intestate estate, any creditor proving that creditor’s debt on oath before the court, shall file with the clerk of the court an affidavit which shall set forth the following facts:
      1. Whether or not decedent left a will, and if so, the original shall be presented to the court for examination by the clerk. The original will has not been proven and therefore shall not be recorded. A copy of the original will shall be filed to support the affidavit. The original will shall be deposited with the court for safekeeping;
      2. Terms Used In Tennessee Code 30-4-103

        • Affiant: means the person executing the affidavit provided for in §. See Tennessee Code 30-4-102
        • Affidavit: A written statement of facts confirmed by the oath of the party making it, before a notary or officer having authority to administer oaths.
        • Court: means the court then exercising probate jurisdiction in the county in which the decedent had legal residence on the date of death. See Tennessee Code 30-4-102
        • Decedent: A deceased person.
        • Intestate: Dying without leaving a will.
        • Legatee: A beneficiary of a decedent
        • Person: means an individual, partnership, firm, business trust, corporation or other legal entity, and includes both singular and plural and masculine and feminine, as appropriate. See Tennessee Code 30-4-102
        • Personal representative: when applied to those who represent a decedent, includes executors and administrators, unless the context implies heirs and distributees. See Tennessee Code 1-3-105
        • Probate: Proving a will
        • Property: means personal property, or any interest in personal property, owned by the decedent on the date of death, other than personal property held as tenants by the entirety or jointly with right of survivorship or personal property payable to a beneficiary other than the decedent's estate. See Tennessee Code 30-4-102
        • Representative: when applied to those who represent a decedent, includes executors and administrators, unless the context implies heirs and distributees. See Tennessee Code 1-3-105
        • Small estate: means the estate of a decedent in which the value of the property does not exceed fifty thousand dollars ($50,000). See Tennessee Code 30-4-102
        • Testate: To die leaving a will.

      3. A list of unpaid debts left by decedent and the name and address of each creditor and the amount due that creditor;
      4. An itemized description and the value of all of decedent’s property, the names and addresses of all persons known to have possession of any of decedent’s property, and a schedule of all insurance on decedent’s life payable to the decedent’s estate;
      5. The name, age, address and relationship, if any, of each devisee, legatee or heir entitled to receive any of decedent’s property; and
    2. The form of the affidavit required by this section shall disclose that the affiant evidences by signature that, subject to the penalty for perjury, the affidavit is not false or misleading and that the affiant is mindful of all duties imposed upon the affiant by this chapter. No clerk or assistant shall be liable as a result of services rendered to the affiant in good faith in completing the affidavit based upon information furnished by the affiant;
    3. Upon the motion of one (1) or more of the decedent’s competent, adult legatees or devisees if a will was left, or the decedent’s heirs or next of kin if no will was left, or upon its own motion, the court may, in its discretion for good cause shown, reduce the forty-five day period required by subdivision (1)(A);
    4. A competent adult who is not a legatee or devisee or personal representative named in the decedent’s will, or an heir or next of kin of the deceased, may be appointed as the affiant for a small estate by the court, if all competent adult legatees or devisees or personal representatives named in the decedent’s will, if a will was left, or heirs or next of kin, if no will was left, consent in writing to the appointment of the competent adult as the affiant; provided, that any person who is appointed as an affiant pursuant to these provisions shall comply with all other provisions of this section, including the bond provisions contained in subdivision (5). The consent shall not be required of any personal representative who is named in the decedent’s will and who has renounced the appointment, in order for the court to appoint an affiant for a small estate;
  1. The court shall receive and file the original affidavit as a part of the court’s permanent records, shall assign it a number and shall index it as other estates are indexed. The clerk shall deliver to the affiant as many certified copies of the affidavit as are requested, onto which are affixed a clerk’s stamp and seal certifying that the affidavit has been filed in the office of the probate court. An affidavit may be amended to the extent that the aggregate amount does not exceed the statutory limitation;
  2. The clerk shall charge and receive such fees for processing a small estate as authorized and provided in §§ 8-21-401 and 32-1-112;
  3. The affiant shall make bond payable to the state for the benefit of those entitled with two (2) or more sufficient sureties or one (1) corporate surety. The amount of the bond shall equal the value of the decedent’s estate to be administered under this chapter. However, bond shall not be required of the affiant if § 30-1-201 would not require such from a personal representative;
  4. The affiant and the sureties on the affiant’s bond may obtain discharge from liability under the bond in either of two (2) ways:

    1. The court may enter an order discharging the affiant and the sureties on the affiant’s bond after the affiant files:
      1. An affidavit that each debt of the decedent is paid; and
      2. For a decedent dying before January 1, 2016, either the tax receipt issued pursuant to § 67-8-420, or the certificate issued pursuant to § 67-8-409(f);
    2. Instead of filing as provided in subdivision (5)(A), the affiant and the sureties on the affiant’s bond may wait until the first anniversary of the filing of the affidavit when the court shall automatically discharge them from liability.