The Tennessee Code has a statute for that.

Tennessee Code Section 35-15-110 contains a laundry list of powers that an executor possesses by default unless the will says otherwise. Among them is the following:

… to permit any beneficiary or beneficiaries of the will to have the use, possession and enjoyment, without charge made for the use, possession and enjoyment, (and without the fiduciary thereby relinquishing control of the property), of any real property or tangible personal property of the estate which, upon completion of the administration of the estate, will be distributable to that beneficiary or beneficiaries…

The executor may exercise this authority only to the extent that:

  • The action will not adversely affect the rights and interests of any creditor of the estate, and
  • It is appropriate that the beneficiary or beneficiaries have the use and enjoyment of the property.

The statute goes on to say that the exercise of this power will not constitute a deemed or constructive distribution of property. Thus, the executor, under appropriate circumstances, could give a beneficiary the use of estate assets before giving him or her actual possession or ownership.

Source: T.C.A. § 35-50-110(4)

Posted by Joel D. Roettger, JD, LLM, EPLS