Probate is a legal process that takes place after a person dies. It is a court-supervised proceeding that authenticates the decedent’s will, and approves the named executor so he or she can distribute property and belongings. Anyone involved with an estate should understand the basics about probate in Tennessee.
Probate is a requirement for estates in Tennessee. This is the method used to distribute assets to the heirs and ensure the will is followed. In Tennessee, if an estate’s value does not exceed $50,000, it can forgo probate (known as a small estate). Even if the estate must go through probate, not all assets will need to be included. Bank accounts, retirement accounts, and investment accounts won’t be part of probate if they have named beneficiaries. This also applies to life insurance policies.
Probate commonly takes six months to a year, depending on the amount and complexity of the assets owned by the deceased. In large estates, the probate process can take time and become quite complicated. It is not uncommon for large estates to be in probate for several years before being settled. If the estate is large, and subject to considerable federal estate tax, it would be advisable to get tentative approval of the estate tax return or to allow enough time to elapse to indicate that the return will not be challenged by the Internal Revenue Service.
In Tennessee, it is not required to have an attorney for probate, but it is very beneficial to seek legal counsel from an estate attorney. An attorney’s assistance will be indispensable in handling large, complex estates. Hiring a competent attorney to help you with the process can relieve much of the stress and anxiety associated with the loss of a loved one, and in having to handle their estate. The administration of the estate can be a long and cumbersome task. An experienced lawyer can streamline the process. Instead of taking this task on your own, please contact us today to discuss your legal needs.