2010 Tennessee Code
Title 30 - Administration of Estates
Chapter 2 - Management, Settlement and Distribution
Part 7 - Distribution
30-2-712 - Affidavit of heirship.

30-2-712. Affidavit of heirship.

(a)  Affidavits duly sworn to upon the personal knowledge of the affiant before an officer entitled to administer oaths in the jurisdiction where the affidavit is made, setting forth any fact or facts concerning the relationship of any parties to persons deceased, or containing a statement of any facts pertinent to be ascertained in determining the persons legally entitled to any part of the estate of the decedent at the time of the decedent's death, shall be accepted for registration, upon presentation, by the registers of deeds in the several counties of the state upon the payment to the register of the usual fees for the recording of instruments entitled under the laws to be recorded.

(b)  The register to whom any such affidavit may be presented for registration shall record the same either in special books kept for this purpose or in the books where deeds are recorded, and in indexing the affidavits the register shall note the instruments as “affidavits of heirship,” indexing the name of the decedent as vendor and the names of those listed as heirs as vendees.

(c)  Any such affidavit duly sworn to and recorded, or a certified copy of the affidavit if the original is shown to be lost, shall be received as evidence in any court in Tennessee in the county in which the affidavit is recorded as prima facie evidence of the facts stated in the affidavit; provided, however, that no such affidavit shall be used as evidence in any court except in a suit or proceeding in which may be involved the question of the right of a person or persons to succeed to or to receive the property of the decedent named in the affidavit, and then only to establish those facts, or in the criminal court in aid of the prosecution of the maker of the affidavit on the ground that it was and is false. Such affidavits filed with respect to the estates of persons heretofore deceased shall be received for registration and may be used with the same effect as affidavits as to persons dying hereafter.

(d)  Any such affidavit that has been copied in the county register's records for twenty (20) years or more before being offered in evidence shall not be rejected as evidence because of any formal defect in the form of the jurat attached thereto.

(e)  (1)  Any person feeling aggrieved by the recording of any such affidavit, may, at any time within six (6) years of the recording of the affidavit, bring a suit in the chancery court of the county where the affidavit may be recorded, challenging the verity of any or all of the facts that may be stated in the affidavit, and if the court finds any facts set forth in the affidavit are not true according to the proof, it shall order so much of the affidavit as it may find to be false to be expunged from the records of the county. In any proceeding challenging the truthfulness of any fact set forth in any such affidavit, the burden of proof to show the truthfulness of the statement shall rest upon the defendants to the proceeding, and all persons whose interests might be affected by the suit shall be made parties defendant. Any such suit shall be local to the county in which the affidavit may be recorded and nonresident defendants shall be made parties by the usual procedure of publication and the mailing by the clerk and master of a copy of the bill to the last known address of each defendant.

     (2)  If an affidavit has been recorded in more than one county of the state, the action may be brought in any one of those counties; and a certified copy of the judgment or decree of the court in that cause expunging the affidavit, or any part of the affidavit, may be filed for recordation in any of the other counties in which the affidavit may have been recorded; and the recordation of the certified copy of the judgment or decree shall be as effective to work the expunction of the affidavit there recorded as if the suit had been instituted and prosecuted to a conclusion in that county.

(f)  Whoever willfully, corruptly and falsely swears to any statement in any such affidavit known by the person to be false, or about which the person does not have sufficiently definite knowledge to justify the making of such a sworn statement, and the statement is false, commits a Class E felony.

[Acts 1937, ch. 123, §§ 1-6; C. Supp. 1950, §§ 8350.1-8350.6; T.C.A. (orig. ed.), §§ 30-1201 30-1206; Acts 1989, ch. 591, § 28.]  

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