Estate planning in Tennessee: what you need to know

1 min read by Unbiased team Last updated June 28, 2024

Learn about estate planning in Tennessee and how this state’s inheritance and tax laws differ from others in the US.


  • Estate planning in Tennessee costs between $900 and $4,000.  

  • Tennessee has no estate tax — only the federal estate tax, which applies to estates worth more than $13.61 million.  

  • Estate planning can be more affordable in Tennessee than it is in other states.  

  • Working with a financial advisor can help reduce the stress and uncertainty around estate planning.  

How much does estate planning cost in Tennessee? 

Comprehensive estate planning in Tennessee will cost between $900 and $4,000.   

This fee covers various estate planning essentials, such as drafting a will, collecting necessary documentation, developing a trust (if needed), and creating a health directive.  

Estate planning in Tennessee is typically much more affordable than it is in other states, with places like New York and New Jersey costing upwards of $6,000 or even $10,000.  

How does Tennessee estate tax work? 

There is no Tennessee estate tax.  

However, there is a federal estate tax to be aware of. The federal estate tax exemption threshold was slightly lower at $12.92 million in 2023, but it increased to $13.61 million in 2024.  

If your estate’s value is higher than $13.61 million in total, it becomes subject to a federal estate tax rate of 40%, which is one of the highest rates in the country.  

How does estate planning for blended families work in Tennessee? 

Estate planning for blended families requires special attention to inheritance beneficiaries and guardianship instructions.  

As stepchildren won’t automatically receive a step-parent’s assets or estate upon their death, very particular instructions regarding asset distribution are necessary.  

Setting up a revocable trust can be a useful way to provide support for stepchildren after your passing and secure assets for children who were born outside of the deceased’s immediate family.  

How does tax planning for single parents work in Tennessee? 

Estate planning for single parents requires a deft knowledge of estate taxes.  

As a single parent in Tennessee, managing your estate and child guardianship affairs proactively is essential to secure the estate and your child’s livelihood after your passing.  

How does tax planning for married couples work in Tennessee? 

The federal estate tax exemption is portable for married couples.  

This means that both spouses can apply for the exemption independently rather than together, resulting in a much lower chance of reaching the estate tax threshold.  

How does probate work in Tennessee? 

Probate is mandatory in Tennessee, but not all assets need to go through probate.  

Only assets that are legally in a deceased person’s name need to undergo probate. Furthermore, if your estate as a whole is valued at less than $50,000, probate may be avoided.  

Probate in Tennessee can be handled by an executor or previously appointed attorney. The probate period for this state is 60 days.  

What are the final arrangements and organ donation laws in Tennessee? 

Your final arrangements should be clearly outlined in your last will and testament.  

This will ensure your wishes are respected and your body is processed according to your personal preferences.  

In order to donate your organs after death in Tennessee, you must both be a registered organ donor and have a physician declare your death.  

Your estate planning checklist for Tennessee 

Estate planning in Tennessee can be a complex process that is easier to navigate with guidance. Here is our estate planning checklist for Tennessee that everyone can follow: 

  • Last will and testament 

As is the case with all states, having a clear last will and testament is the first and most important step for successful estate planning in Tennessee. It should detail your final arrangements, asset distribution information, and guardianship for your heirs if you have any.  

  • Healthcare documentation 

Healthcare directives and a living will can secure your wishes and estate plans should you ever become ill or incapacitated beyond self-advocacy.  

  • Trusts 

Trusts can help you designate your assets to named beneficiaries before or after your death. Both revocable and irrevocable trusts come with taxation in Tennessee.  

However, because Tennessee has no gift tax, it can sometimes be more tax-efficient to secure your family’s wealth through gifts rather than trusts.  

  • Power of attorney 

A power of attorney is legal power you attribute to a trusted individual to manage your estate plans after your passing. It serves as a bridge between your estate plans and the people they impact, helping ensure your wishes are respected and implemented effectively.  

  • Pre-need guardian 

A pre-need guardian will advocate for an estate owner if they are incapacitated and potentially take over guardianship of their heirs (if minors) in certain circumstances.  

Get expert financial advice 

Navigating estate planning in Tennessee can be a complicated process. Tennessee estate planning is affordable, requires no estate tax, and has a high federal tax threshold.  

To learn more about estate planning in Tennessee, get matched with a financial advisor through Unbiased and secure the future of your estate and your loved ones after you’re gone.  


Unbiased team

Our team of writers, who have decades of experience writing about personal finance, including investing and retirement, are here to help you find out what you must know about life’s biggest financial decisions.