Tennessee has a statute for that.

T.C.A. §§ 32-1-201 and 32-1-202 set forth the exclusive means of revoking a will under Tennessee law. As discussed in a previous post, Section 202 addresses revocation as a result of divorce or annulment. Section 201 lists four other ways a will or any part thereof may be revoked. They are:

  1. A subsequent will, other than a nuncupative will, that revokes the prior will or part expressly or by inconsistency;
  2. Document of revocation, executed with all the formalities of an attested will or a holographic will, but not a nuncupative will, that revokes the prior will or part expressly;
  3. Being burned, torn, cancelled, obliterated or destroyed, with the intent and for the purpose of revoking it, by the testator or by another person in the testator’s presence and by the testator’s direction; or
  4. Both the subsequent marriage and the birth of a child of the testator, but divorce or annulment of the subsequent marriage does not revive a prior will.

Accordingly, Tennessee law automatically and irrevocably invalidates the will of a testator who subsequently marries and has a child. Note, though, that both the marriage and the birth of the child must occur after execution of the will. The  occurrence of only one event after the execution of the will is not sufficient to trigger the statute. So, for example, a will executed after the testator’s marriage but before the birth of his child would remain valid, subject to the pretermitted child statute.

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