Let's discuss what the probate process will look like.
Probate is the legal process whereby the Courts are allowed to transfer property to the rightful heirs. During this process, you will also need to settle any and all debts left behind by the decedent. Having an attorney who understands the Probate Process can help you have peace of mind.
Residents of Tennessee can expect to go through Probate Court when a loved one passes away. Although there are some ways to avoid Probate court altogether, most will end up Court. Should you wish to avoid Probate Court, you will need to sit down and discuss your options with an Estate Planning Attorney.
Should your loved one pass intestate, meaning they passed without a valid Will, then you will likely find yourself filing in probate court. In this case, it would be beneficial to contact an experienced attorney to begin the process of filing with the Court.
In some circumstances, if your loved one had proper estate planning prior to their passing, then you may be able to avoid probate court altogether. People often think that just because they found a Last Will and Testament that they don't need probate court. Well, unfortunately, probate may still be required depending on the validity of the Will.
You will need to understand that the Probate Process is not fast. It often takes a minimum of four months and could last up to a year or longer. If you have a small estate, we may be able to file a simplified petition. Should the Estate be challenged by an heir or beneficiary then it could last years in Court.
If you wish to avoid your loved ones having to go through probate court, then you may want to reach out to an Estate Planning Attorney and schedule an appointment. During your appointment, you will want to discuss with your Attorney payable on death accounts, any real property you own, and life insurance and/or retirement accounts.
Once you've determined that probate proceedings are necessary then the following will need to file a petition with the court, obtain letters testamentary or letters of administration, publication of the estate will often be done by the Court Clerk, conduct an inventory of the estate (unless waived in in the Will), and begin ascertaining all the debt that the decedent may have had.
Your Estate Attorney will walk you through each step and will often take care of everything from start to finish for you.