State Supreme Court says will must be signed to be valid

Friday, November 16, 2012, Vol. 36, No. 46

NASHVILLE (AP) - The Tennessee Supreme Court has ruled that an unsigned will accompanied by other documents that were signed cannot be considered valid.

The five-member court said in a unanimous ruling published Friday that it wouldn't follow the reasoning of a Court of Appeals decision and loosen Tennessee laws on the execution of wills. The court said that authority rests with the Legislature.

The ruling came in a Polk County case over the estate of Thomas Grady Chastain, who died in 2009. Chastain had signed an affidavit of attesting witnesses and initialed his two-page will. The will directed that a knife collection and insurance proceeds go to his grandchildren and great-grandchildren and the rest of his estate to his daughter.

The document was contested by two of Chastain's grandchildren.