A probate lawyer can help guide you through the probate process after the death of a loved one. Probate Court is the court that oversees the distribution of a deceased person’s estate. Probate Court also oversees guardianships and conservatorships for minors and disabled persons.
To start the probate process your lawyer will need to have the deceased person’s Last Will and Testament. The probate lawyer will prepare a petition to probate the Will and other documents required to open an estate in Probate Court.
Once appointed by the Probate Court, the Executor of the estate has the job of carrying out the terms of the Will and distributing the deceased person’s property as required by the Will and by Tennessee law. This job usually includes the following:
- Identifying and valuing all of the property that the deceased person owned,
- Identifying and notifying all heirs, beneficiaries under the Will, and creditors of the estate,
- Managing and protecting the estate assets during the estate administration period,
- Filing an inventory and accounting with the Probate Court unless these requirements are waived,
- Paying the deceased person’s debts and the costs of administering the estate,
- Filing any required gift, income, estate and inheritance tax returns,
- Distributing the property to the beneficiaries as the deceased person directed in his or her Will.
The administration of an estate can be completed within six (6) months and distribution of the estate assets can occur immediately, depending on the size of the estate and the types of assets that the deceased person owned.
While the process can be confusing and time-consuming, an experienced probate lawyer can ease the way and guide you through the process.