Tuesday, February 18, 2014
Tennessee law requires only two witnesses to a will. The will contest case of Estate of Woolverton demonstrates that problems may arise when extra, unnecessary witnesses are brought in.
Three witnesses signed the will of Dennis R. Woolverton, but only two of the three witnesses testified about the signatures on the purported will. The appellate court held that “the trial court was required to make findings of fact and conclusions of law regarding the availability of the third witness, which it failed to do.” So in Tennessee, if there are more than two witnesses to the will, you will either need their testimony or demonstrate that they can’t be found.
See Luke Lantta, Tennessee Requires All Witnesses to a Will to Testify, Bryan Cave Fiduciary Litigation, Feb. 13, 2014.