What is the Process for Opening a Probate Estate in Tennessee?
In this video attorney Joy Robertson details the ultra-confusing process of how to open a probate estate in the state of Tennessee. View the video below or see the transcript to hear Joy’s response to this very important information.
Transcript: Hi my name is Joy Robertson I’m an attorney with Douglass & Runger, PLLC, in a Memphis, Tennessee law firm. At Douglas and Runger, PLLC I help my clients obtain peace of mind by walking them through the often difficult death of a loved one, and helping them navigate the sometimes complex probate process. Today I would like to talk to you about a common question that I’m asked by my clients, how do we open an estate. What does that entail? What does that process look like? So, essentially after a client comes in to have a consultation with me and we determined that an estate actually does need to be opened. I draft a petition to open the estate and appoint a personal representative. Typically the client who comes to see me as someone closely connected to the deceased loved one. Oftentimes it’s a child or a surviving spouse, and so often that person who comes to see me wants to be the personal representative. So after I dropped the petition, and I have the client executed affidavits swearing that all of the information contained in that petition is accurate. We then go to probate court. I will have them, you meet me in the clerk’s office, we fill out the necessary paper paperwork we file the petition. If this is an estate that we’re opening that is not subject to a last will and testament, then they will have to post a bond, or if that last will and testament does not waive the requirement of bond will have to post one that client at the time we opened the estate will have to pay a filing fee to the court and also pay or the bond premium. The reason bonds are often required especially in the context of no last will and testament being applicable, is because by acting as a personal representative You are a fiduciary and you have responsibilities to all of the beneficiaries all of the heirs to protect those estate assets and make sure that the assets are divvied up between the various interested parties accordingly. So once we file everything in the probate clerk’s office, we then go into the courtroom. I put you understand, and we basically go over all of the facts relating to this, you know where the your loved one died, how long they have lived in Shelby County. In the case of a, an estate without a last will and testament we go through all of the assets. We go through all of the beneficiaries and heirs. We also go through all of your duties that you will have as a personal representative. After that, you know, the judge will typically agree to open the estate admit the last will and testament to probate if there is a will and appoint you as either administrator or executor again depending on the presence of a well. After that we then go back to the clerk’s office where you edit those is administered to you, swearing to uphold your fiduciary responsibilities swearing to work closely with the court and follow all the court’s orders work closely with me as the attorney for the estate. And you were issued either letters of administration. If there is no well or letters testamentary, if there is a well. And after that, we then just begin the often long drawn out process of finding assets, just making distributions as may be necessary notifying creditors notifying 10 care, all of the different responsibilities that you will have as a personal representative. If you have any questions about the probate process, or if you have a particular case that you would like to discuss with me, please feel free to give me a call. Thank you. If you have any further questions do not hesitate to call Joy or her team at Douglass & Runger, PLLC at (901) 388-5805 relating to other questions you may have about the will preparation process.