Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog

Editor: Gerry W. Beyer
Texas Tech Univ. School of Law

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Lapsed Residuary Gifts Tennessee Style

Tennessee_2Julie M. Cochran has recently published her casenote entitled Property Law--Wills--Effect of Lapsed Residuary Gifts in the State of Tennessee (In re Estate of McFarland, 167 S.W.3d 299, 2005), 73 Tenn. L. Rev. 711 (2006).

Here is the conclusion of her article:

In McFarland, the Tennessee Supreme Court upheld an 1852 decision that left lapsed residuary gifts to intestate heirs rather than remaining residuary beneficiaries. In reaching this decision, the court applied traditional will construction principles and adhered to the doctrine of stare decisis. Unfortunately, the McFarland decision was more technically sound than it was logical. Therefore, Tennessee remains stuck with an outdated, impractical rule that the Tennessee Supreme Court had difficulty defending. In defaulting to precedent, the court seems to have washed its hands clean of the issue. It is now up to the legislature to permanently place the Ford rule on its dusty library shelf and acquaint Tennessee probate law with modern times.


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