Probate Court History

A private act of the 1963 legislature (Chapter 124; House Bill 766) established a court of record, the Probate Court of Davidson County. The court has concurrent jurisdiction with the Fourth Circuit Court. The act provided that the County Judge of the Metropolitan Government of Nashville and Davidson County should serve as judge of this court. On May 6, 1963, the court officially opened with Judge Shelton Luton presiding. This court handles domestic relations matters and, in effect, functions as a counterpart to the Fourth Circuit Court. It also has original jurisdiction and powers with respect to the probate of wills, administration of estates, and related matters.
Chapter 366, Private Acts, 1974 (House Bill No. 708) conferred upon the probate court all jurisdiction now or hereafter conferred upon the chancery court of Davidson County.

Shelton Luton,1963-1982
James Everett,1982-1995
Frank G. Clement Jr.,1995-2003
Randy Kennedy, 2003- present

The Probate Court was replaced by the Seventh Circuit Court in 1998, established by Tennessee Code Annotated 16-2-505 and 16-2-506, Section (20)(A). This court began its duties on September 1, 1998. The Seventh Circuit Court retained exclusive jurisdiction over the probating of wills and the administration of estates, etc., along with Chancery Court Jurisdiction, and all of the jurisdiction of the former Probate Court. The effect was simply to change the name of the Court from Probate to Seventh Circuit. Frank G. Clement simply remained as judge.

This information was retrieved from:

Author – David C. Rutherford
Publisher – The Nashville Bar Foundation
Editor – William T. Ramsey