Cite: Eddy R. Smith, Tenancy by the Entirety and the Duplicitous Husband, TENN. B. J., August 2016.
Marriage is a matter of more worth
Than to be dealt in by attorneyship. — 1 Henry VI 5.5.50-1
Marriage is sacred in the eyes of Tennessee law, so much so that it has its own forms of property rights, including tenancy by the entirety (TBE), available only to spouses. Among TBE’s unique characteristics is that it may not be severed unilaterally by one spouse (or one spouse’s creditors). The Tennessee Court of Appeals recently applied that principle in Estate of Fletcher, reaching a result that is both logical and equitable, but perhaps surprising to some.
Something is rotten in this marriage. Spouses Nelda and Calvert Fletcher opened a checking account, titled “joint with rights of survivorship.” The account agreement required only one spouse’s signature to make a withdrawal from the account. Mr. Fletcher, without Mrs. Fletcher’s knowledge, unilaterally withdrew some or all of the account and deposited it into a certificate of deposit (CD) titled solely to him. Mr. Fletcher died soon thereafter with a will that gave Mrs. Fletcher all of his tangible personal property, but gave the remainder of his estate to his children from a prior marriage. Continue reading
The Tennessee Department of Commerce and Insurance has announced a new service enabling Tennesseans to more easily locate lost life insurance and annuity policies.
The Lost Policy Service enables beneficiaries to track down the life insurance policies or annuity contracts of deceased family members or friends. To use the service, Tennesseans submit a simple request form either electronically or by mail to the Department of Commerce and Insurance.
The department then sends the request to all licensed Tennessee life insurance carriers.
“Locating the correct insurance records following the death of a loved one can sometimes prove to be a challenge,” said TDCI Commissioner Julie Mix McPeak in a news release. “This service provides useful assistance in situations where a Tennessean thinks he or she may be the beneficiary of a policy, but cannot provide sufficient information to identify an insurance carrier.”
Each month, representatives from the department will collect the requests and then contact Tennessee-licensed insurance carriers. The carriers will then search their records to determine whether they have any policies or annuity contracts in the name of the deceased.
Insurance carriers will be expected to respond directly to the consumer within 30 days of receiving notification from the state, if the consumer is legally authorized to receive the information.
TDCI Assistant Commissioner Michael Humphreys said in the news release that the interest in lost policies has spiked in recent weeks and “connects Tennesseans to the life insurance and annuity benefits that they may have otherwise had a hard time identifying.”
The department will send its first notification to carriers at the end of April.