Estate Planning and Probate
Probate is a court-supervised legal process for winding up a person’s final affairs. TheTennessee probate process serves the dual purposes of disposing of any claims against the deceased person’s estate and distributing the assets to those who are entitled to them.
5 Common Questions About Tennessee Probate
Is Tennessee probate required?
That depends on the assets involved and how they are titled. If a person owned assets in his or her name alone, probate is usually required.
Do I need to hire a Tennessee probate attorney?
If the estate will be admitted to probate, the answer is “yes.” If you have questions about whether the estate must be admitted to probate, a brief consultation with a Tennessee probate attorney could clear things up. We offer these consultations free of charge, no strings attached.
How much will probate cost?
This is not an easy question to answer without more information. Attorney fees for probate matters can vary depending on the work involved.
How long does probate take?
Most of our simple estates are closed within 4 to 12 months from the date the attorney is hired. The estate must stay open at least 90 days from the date that notification to creditors is first published. This makes it impossible to close a Tennessee estate in less than 90 days. And since it usually takes several weeks to first publish notice to creditors, it would be unusual to close a Tennessee estate in less than 4 months.
Are there any alternatives to probate?
Yes! Tennessee law has several alternatives that may help to avoid or shorten the probate process. But these alternatives are not available for every estate. Whether an alternative will apply to your case depends on several factors, including the assets involved and the date of the decedent’s death. We go over these alternatives in our free telephone consultation.
4 Steps to Get You Started
Step 1: Make a List of the Decedent’s Assets
If you are involved in a Tennessee estate, you need to know the assets owned by the decedent, including their location, value, and how they are titled. This information will form the basis of your decisions regarding how (or if) to deal with the estate under Tennessee law.
Step 2: Determine Whether There is a Valid Last Will and Testament
You will also need to know whether there is a valid Last Will and Testament. A valid Last Will and Testament will identify the person who has the first choice of administering the estate and let you know what parties are involved.
Step 3: Make a List of the Names and Addresses Parties Involved
No matter what legal tool you use to resolve Tennessee probate issues, you will need to know the names and addresses of the other parties involved. Save yourself (and the Tennessee probate attorney) some time by putting together a list right away.
So how do you know what parties are involved? Keep your eye on three groups:
Individuals or organizations named in the will (if there is one);
Close relatives of the decedent (especially spouses and children); and
Creditors or potential creditors of the decedent’s estate.
Because each of these groups could be affected by the Mississippi probate proceeding, you should identify them early. Put together a list of their names and addresses for future reference. You will be glad that you did.
Step 4: Talk to a Tennessee Probate Attorney
All Tennessee estates must be represented by a Tennessee probate attorney. Even if this were not a strict legal requirement, it would be a practical one. Tennessee probate is simply not a do-it-yourself project. The courts recognize this and treat attorney’s fees as a necessary expense. As long as there are assets available, the probate attorney’s fees are paid from the estate as an expense of administration.
Since you will need to work with a Tennessee probate attorney, why not involve that attorney early in the process? The choice of which attorney to hire is up to you, so choose a Tennessee probate attorney that you are comfortable with. Be sure that he or she is thoroughly familiar with Tennessee probate law and communicates effectively.