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736 Market Street, Suite 1550
Chattanooga, TN 37402


Tidwell, Izell & Richardson is a Chattanooga, TN based law firm serving as counsel to businesses and individuals.
Areas of law practice include: insurance, defense litigation, commercial litigation, construction litigation, litigation, civil rights defense, probate, and business law.


News & Updates

8 Questions About Probate Answered By A Lawyer

Bart Mathews

One of the hardest parts of losing a loved one is figuring out what to do with their estate. Will you assume any of their debts? Did they leave certain items to family members or a spouse? Do you need estate administration? What does probate even mean?

Probate is the process in which a deceased person’s estate is valued and distributed to all who are legally entitled to it. This includes the reading of a will, if one is available, the valuation of all relevant assets, and how those assets are distributed to creditors and family members.

 So now that you know what the probate process entails, you can begin to take steps in the right direction. In this article, we give you some helpful answers to questions you might have  -- and even to some you haven’t thought of yet. 

1.What happens if the deceased doesn’t have a will?

Although it is best to have a will, the document is not necessary for entering the probate process of dispersing their estate. Tennessee has specific laws to determine what measures are taken to ensure that there is proper probate administration, even in the absence of a will.

2. How do I know if my loved one has a will?

In Tennessee, unlike many other states, there is no option to register a will at the courthouse or anywhere else. The best way to find out whether someone has a will is to search his or her belongings or personal files for any necessary paperwork. If you don’t find any evidence of a will, you can also contact the Chattanooga Bar Association (423-756-3222), and they will contact their members to see if any area lawyers have information on this person’s will.

3. Should I probate the estate?

The best way to know if continuing into probate is the right option for you is to contact a probate lawyer. Because of the complexity of real estate holdings, bank accounts, investment accounts, and other financial holdings that are only in the name of the deceased, probate may be a necessity. Other factors that may require going into probate are pending lawsuits, debt issues, or family disputes.

4. If my spouse passes away, what happens to our estate?

In Tennessee, a spouse has many privileges when it comes to their partner’s estate. If you own a home under both of your names, you, as the surviving spouse, automatically have all the rights to the house. In addition, a spouse can’t be written out of a will, and under no circumstances can the surviving spouse receive less than a third of the estate, not counting the home. This percentage is based on the number of children you have and can even reach 100 percent. Other benefits you may receive include a year of support, household goods, the family vehicle, and other essential items.

5. Are estate taxes expensive?

In a majority of situations it is not. In many cases, the government has eliminated estate taxes altogether.

6. How long does probate take?

This can depend on the form of probate that is needed. If a will is present, the transfer of real estate can happen as quickly as in a single day. However, full probate can take up to six months because of a four-month period in which creditors can file claims. If problems arise from creditor claims, then the timing becomes dependent on how complex the circumstances are.

7. Can issues cause delays in the probate process?

It depends on how smoothly the process runs. Complications such as family members contesting the will, claims filed against the estate, selling real estate, or liquidating assets can affect the timeline. Any time an issue arises, the process will usually take longer.

8. Are probate lawyers expensive?

Probate attorneys typically charge by the hour, so the cost is directly connected to how much time is needed to finish the job. The price can be as low as $2,500 if there are no complications, but the more complicated and lengthy the probate process is, the more it will cost.

Do you have other questions? We have more than 40 combined years of probate experience. You can call us to schedule a free, no pressure consultation. Visit us online for more information, or call us now at 423-602-7511.

Best Lawyers selects Mike Richardson of Tidwell, Izell & Richardson

Bart Mathews

Best Lawyers in American has selected Mike Richardson of the Chattanooga law firm of Tidwell, Izell and Richardson for inclusion in the 2016 version of The Best Lawyers in America.

Best Lawyers selected Richardson for his work in three practice areas: Legal Malpractice Law, Defendants and Litigation, and Labor and Employment.

Richardson has practiced trial work in the Chattanooga area for 35 years. He continues to practice primarily in areas involving personal injury, professional negligence, business torts, and criminal defense.

Best Lawyers has selected Richardson for inclusion in its publication every year for over five years.


Local Law Firm Announces Formation

Bart Mathews

The law firm of Tidwell, Izell and Richardson announces its formation and new office location in Suite 1550 of the SunTrust Bank building in downtown Chatta- nooga.

Partners W. Gerald “Jerry” Tidwell and W. Adam Izell are now formally associated with attorney Michael E. Richardson. Joining the firm is retired Circuit Court Judge Jackie Schulten Bolton, who is serving of coun- sel. Two new associates, Todd A. Davis and Bart Mathews, are also affiliated with the firm.

>>> Click here for full article.

Law Firm in Transition

Bart Mathews

Attorney Adam Izell’s office on the 15th floor of the SunTrust Building on Market Street looks like a space in transition. Indeed, Izell and his partner in law, Jerry Tidwell, have just hired an associate and welcomed retired Judge Jacqueline Bolton as an “of counsel” attorney, so there are stacks of things where there normally won’t be, and items on desks that will soon be gracing a wall.

One such item is a framed quote by Thomas Jefferson. It reads, “I’m a great believer in luck, and I find the harder I work, the more I have of it.”

>>> Click here for full article

A New Law Firm is Formed

Bart Mathews

Jerry Tidwell, Adam Izell, Mike Richardson Form
Law Firm With Judge Bolton Of Counsel

The law firm of Tidwell, Izell and Richardson announces its formation and new office location in the SunTrust Bank building at 736 Market St., Suite 1550, in downtown Chattanooga.

Partners W. Gerald “Jerry” Tidwell and W. Adam Izell are formally associated with attorney Michael E. Richardson. Joining the firm is retired Circuit Court Judge Jackie Schulten Bolton serving of counsel.  Two new associates, Todd A. Davis and Bart Mathews, are also affiliated with the firm.

>> Click to see full article on