Pritchard on Wills and Administration of Estates

When I began my estate planning and administration practice 10 years ago, I understood quickly that there were three sources of relevant law with which I needed to be very familiar: the Tennessee Code, the Internal Revenue Code, and Pritchard on Wills and Administration of Estates. Lawyers have cited Pritchard in their court briefs and judges have cited Pritchard in their opinions so widely that, as is the case with the best treatises, what first reported the law has in practice become a source of law. For over 100 years, wills and estates lawyers in Tennessee have asked the question, "What does Pritchard say?"

Jack W. Robinson Sr., Jeffrey Mobley and Andra Hedrick have added to Pritchard's legacy with the publication of the sixth edition (the first wholesale update since 1994), updating statutes and court cases, adding new forms, and improving the resource's language. Pritchard is available in electronic format and in an easy-to-handle bound version.

Pritchard consists of three volumes. Volume one addresses testamentary capacity; execution and revocation of wills; probate forms; and construction of wills, legacies, and gifts. Volume two addresses the appointment and qualification of executors and administrators; assets of the estate and inventory; the rights, powers, duties, and liabilities of executors and administrators; payments, distributions, and settlements; insolvent estates and subjecting real property to the estate's obligations; simultaneous death; property of absentees; small estates; and Tennessee inheritance and gift tax. Volume three is devoted to forms: will forms, including both complete wills and optional will clauses; probate forms, including forms to open and close an estate; the various reports and actions required during administration; forms for making and responding to claims against the estate; forms related to the rights of a surviving spouse; will contest forms; actions to construe the will or establish a lost will; and the like.

The mission begun by Chattanooga's Robert Pritchard in 1894, "to present the law as it is received and practiced in Tennessee today," continues with the good work on the sixth edition. Mr. Pritchard wrote that his colleagues in the bar would "decide whether or not this book supplies the want it is intended to supply." One hundred and fourteen years and five editions later, the Bar has spoken. Pritchard is foundational for any lawyer who is beginning an estate planning and administration practice and, like many others who have been in practice some time, I continue to rely upon it heavily.


Eddy R. Smith is with the Knoxville firm of Holbrook, Peterson & Smith PLLC