Estate Administration Lawyers in Clarksville Ensuring Your Wishes Are Known
Who would you want to inherit your house after you die? Do you have children that you want to ensure have funds for college if you’re not around when the time comes? While these things may not be pleasant to think about, they are real scenarios that happen every day, and if you don’t have an estate plan, you won’t get to make these decisions for yourself.
If you have questions about how to set up an estate plan, contact Crow Estate Planning and Probate, PLC, today. We can go over your options and explain the benefits of each, so you can decide what’s right for you. If you’ve been named an executor of an estate, we can discuss your role and responsibilities and ensure you understand what happens next.
What Happens When Someone Dies Without a Will?
If you do not have a will when you die, it is referred to as being intestate. In this case, instead of getting to decide how your estate is handled or who gets your possessions, the state laws take over. In Tennessee, this means that your closest living relative will receive your estate after it passes through probate. There are some exceptions to what assets go through probate. For example, living trusts and anything with a designated beneficiary — such as a life insurance policy — doesn’t go through probate and are dispensed according to the specific terms, which may not follow the succession guidelines.
When there is no will for an estate, there is a higher chance that there will be disagreement about who gets what, and these legal battles can take months and even years to resolve. While there are specific succession laws, they may not match up with your intended wishes and could cause problems with family relationships after you pass. This is why it’s important to discuss your estate plan with an attorney and ensure you have everything — including a will — in place as soon as possible.
What Does the Executor of an Estate Do?
The executor of the estate is the main person in charge of ensuring that all of the necessary tasks are completed after the person has passed. This includes finding the most up-to-date version of the deceased’s will and filing it with the probate court, notifying all relevant agencies that the person has passed, and finalizing the estate.
You will need to formally notify all of the deceased’s financial companies, including banks, credit card companies, and lenders, that they have passed and provide proof — which is usually the official death certificate. You will also be responsible for settling any outstanding bills and debts with the estate’s funds. If the person didn’t have a large enough estate to cover their debts, you may need to file the appropriate paperwork with those debtors so they can write the debt off or pursue it through a cosigner, if possible.
The executor of the estate is also in charge of ensuring that the deceased’s property is passed to friends and relatives as outlined in the will or estate plan. This could range from furniture and jewelry to real estate and cash funds, so it’s important to understand what this process requires and how to execute it effectively.
What Does an Estate Administration Lawyer Do?
An estate administration lawyer can help the executor of an estate by providing legal advice and guidance throughout the process. This may include reviewing the will, helping to secure a tax identification number for the estate, filing court paperwork to open probate proceedings, coordinating with family members and creditors, distributing assets as directed in the will, settling debts, preparing and filing necessary tax forms, and providing other services as needed. In addition, an estate administration lawyer can help to protect the executor from potential liabilities by suggesting ways to minimize risk and helping to ensure that all necessary steps are taken for a successful estate administration.
Additionally, an estate administration lawyer can take the reins and actually do ALL of the administrative work involved during this process. This means you can refocus your efforts on other aspects of your life and let us take care of the details of the estate – one step at a time. We understand how complicated and stressful administering an estate can be. That’s why we take that entire burden off of your plate and allow you to breathe a sigh of relief. This can be especially useful for an executor that lives out of state and does not want to travel to any necessary proceedings – or simply does not have the inclination of administering an estate. A knowledgeable attorney can also be a valuable resource for moving the estate administration process forward – whether you simply need a helping hand or someone to complete all the administrative work for you!
Who Should I Name as an Executor?
If you are currently working on your estate plan and you aren’t sure who you should name as the executor of your estate, here are some points to consider. First and foremost, it should be someone that you trust to follow through with your wishes, even though they may not necessarily agree with them.
It can also be helpful to choose someone who has acted as the executor of an estate before. It’s certainly not required, but dealing with the legal aspects of estates can be challenging for the layperson — especially if they are simultaneously grieving. Some people specifically choose an executor who is not related to them, such as an attorney or a financial advisor, for this reason.
If you’re not sure who to name as an executor, an attorney can provide counsel on this decision. If you can narrow the list down to a few names, your lawyer can go through them with you and help you better understand who may be the best fit. You may also want to discuss the possibility with the candidates to see if anyone clearly doesn’t want to be the executor.
Do I Need an Estate Plan?
Many people wonder if they really need an estate plan. Maybe they don’t have children, or they don’t think they have large enough assets to make it “worth it.” But the answer to this question is an unequivocal, resounding “Yes!” for everyone. Estate plans don’t have to be complicated, but they should exist. And an experienced attorney like those on the team at Crow Estate Planning and Probate can help you make this happen.
It can be tempting to put off making an estate plan, but sometime in the future may be too late. Our team of estate administration lawyers in Clarksville can help you create an estate plan that works for you. Call our office at 931-218-7800 to schedule a free consultation with a member of our team. We can discuss the details of your situation and provide counsel on how our firm can help.