Clarksville Probate Lawyers Fighting for Your Legacy and Assets
Losing a loved one is a stressful and emotional experience. Going through the process of dividing the estate among heirs and trying to understand what the next step is can be daunting and only add to an already difficult situation. Attorney John Crow has helped many families navigate the probate process and offer some insights on what you need to know about probate in Tennessee.
Do I Have to Go Through Probate in Tennessee?
First, it is crucial to understand what exactly probate in Tennessee is. When a person dies, and the estate is solely in the deceased person’s name, the assets must go through a court-supervised process before being passed on to the decedent’s heirs. The court will also determine payment of any debt or taxes left behind by the deceased person. This process is called probate.
Not every asset or estate needs to go through probate, only what was in the deceased person’s name alone, with no other owners named. Those will become part of the probate estate. That typically excludes:
- Any property held with a right or survivorship, such as joint bank accounts or jointly held real estate. These assets will be directly passed on to the surviving owner.
- Any asset that has a transferable-on-death (“TOD”) and payable-on-death (“POD”) designation listing an individual as the beneficiary will not require probate.
- Any life insurance with a designated beneficiary that is not the estate itself will be directly distributed to whoever is named on it.
If after going through this list, the family still finds that assets are remaining, then those will likely have to go through probate before they can be distributed. That means not everything that the decedent owned is considered probate estate. If you are not sure about which assets should be included in the probate estate and which can be passed on directly, seeking the help of a Clarksville estate planning attorney is an important step to avoid unnecessary headaches and delays.
Is There a Way to Speed Up the Probate Process?
In cases where the total probate estate is worth less than $50,000 (excluding real estate), the state of Tennessee offers simplified probate. This allows you to expedite the process and transfer most assets in a shorter time.
Generally, probate in Tennessee takes on average six months to a year to be completed, depending on the complexity of the estate. If heirs have doubts or disputes over what they are entitled to receive or the estate has unusual assets or complicated debts, probate may take longer than this average time.
How Can an Attorney Help Me Through Probate in Tennessee?
While you are not required to hire an attorney in order to go through probate, it is highly recommended that you do so. Probate can be a lengthy and exhausting process with many steps. You will be dealing with a significant administrative burden and trying to keep heirs happy while grieving from your loss. A seasoned probate attorney can provide the guidance and services you need every step of the way, making the process easier and painless for you and your family.
It is not unusual for a client to quickly realize that the Tennessee probate process seems complicated and intimidating at first sight and that the best choice is to rely on a seasoned professional who can help them with tasks, such as:
- Identifying and analyzing wills and estate documents
- Identifying estate assets and debts
- Determining whether the estate requires probate or if there are alternatives to probate
- Assisting clients as the estate is taken through probate when required
- Handling claims, debts, and loan issues required before the estate can be closed
- Negotiating and resolving family disputes when necessary
- Providing guidance and support until the estate is closed and assets are fully distributed
Simply put, an attorney experienced with dealing in estate administration and probate matters can help you save time and avoid costly mistakes that may result in more delays and more headaches for you or your family. At Crow Estate Planning and Probate, PLC, we have helped countless clients and their families in Clarksville and across Tennessee walk through probate and estate administration to make the probate process as straightforward and clear as possible.
Our team at Crow Estate Planning and Probate, PLC is ready to help your family with all your estate matters. Give us a call at 931-218-7800.