Probate of Wills
Memphis Probate Attorney
When someone dies in Tennessee, that person’s family, guardian, or court-appointed administrator must begin the process of administering the person’s affairs soon thereafter. This administration sometimes occurs with the oversight of the court through what is known as probate. There are many complexities and potential difficulties that can arise throughout the probate process. A Tennessee probate attorney can help you minimize these difficulties and successfully navigate what can be a confusing probate process.
Douglass & Runger, Attorneys at Law, help Memphis residents as well as citizens throughout Tennessee who have questions or are facing difficulties concerning the probate process. Contact them for professional and personalized attention and counsel.
How Does the Probate Process Work in Tennessee?
When a person dies in Tennessee, certain assets that the deceased had in his or her name alone may need to pass through the probate process. Probate allows a court to exercise supervision over the manner in which the deceased’s assets are distributed, debts and taxes are paid, and affairs concluded. Probate may be necessary whether the deceased died with a valid will in force or whether the deceased died intestate, without a will. However, not all assets will necessarily pass through probate. In fact, the following assets will generally not pass through probate:
Proceeds from a life insurance policy or retirement account
Living trust assets
Bank accounts designated as POD (payable on death)
Property held in joint tenancy or joint tenancy by the entirety
The probate process begins once the deceased dies. If he or she had a will in place, that will must be probated – that is, introduced and accepted by the court – within a certain period of time after the person’s death. The person named as the deceased’s executor or administrator typically presents the will to the court. Depending on the will and whether it complied with statutory requirements, there may be legal challenges raised against the admission of the will.
If the person did not have a will, then someone such as a family member or guardian will approach the court after the person’s death and ask to be appointed as administrator over the deceased’s estate.
How the Probate Process Proceeds
Once the deceased’s will has been probated and/or an executor or administrator named, that person is given court authority to handle the deceased’s affairs according to the will or, if none, according to the court’s instructions. Periodically the administrator must provide the court and any heirs or beneficiaries with updates as to what assets have been distributed and to whom. The administrator must also take steps to notify any potential heirs of the decedent’s death and notify the deceased’s creditors in case they wish to file a claim against the deceased’s estate.
Seek Help from a Qualified Tennessee Probate Lawyer
Probate can be a confusing and difficult legal process for those not familiar with its intricacies. The Memphis law firm of Douglass & Runger, Attorneys at Law, is ready to assist you throughout this process. Whether you are an executor seeking help in administering an estate or you are an heir seeking to challenge the validity of a relative’s will, contact Douglass & Runger, Attorneys at Law at (901) 388-5805 and receive experienced legal counsel from one of our Tennessee probate lawyers.