Tennessee Code Title 30. Administration of Estates § 30-1-106

When any person dies intestate in this state, administration shall be granted to the spouse of that person, if the spouse makes application for administration.  For want of application for administration upon the part of the spouse, the administration shall be granted to the next of kin, if such next of kin apply for it.  If neither the spouse nor next of kin make application for administration, then administration shall be granted to a creditor proving the decedent's debt on oath before the probate court;  provided, that when there is more than one next of kin, the probate court may decide which of the kin shall be entitled to the administration.

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