Probate Administration

Probate is the process by which a will is proved valid by a probate court. A will has no legal effect until it is probated. Probate administration is the process of formerly opening the estate of the deceased person with the probate court, whether testate (with a will) or intestate (without a will), providing notice to the to all interested parties, making an inventory of the assets of the estate subject to probate, providing notice to creditors of the deceased person, paying the bills, filing estate and inheritance tax returns, obtaining a release from TennCare, distributing the assets of the estate according to the will or the laws of intestate succession and closing the estate. Certain assets that are jointly owned with the decedent with right of survivorship or that have beneficiaries are not subject to probate and pass directly to the joint owner or beneficiary. A formal estate must be opened and administered for all estates that have assets subject to probate.

If you have been named an executor in a decedent’s will, or if a close relative has recently died without a will our Tennessee probate attorneys are ready to help you open and administer the decedent’s estate. We can file the necessary pleadings with the proper court to admit the will to probate or open the intestate estate and appoint you the Personal Representative for the estate. The proper court is generally the probate court in the county of the decedent’s residence. When the estate is opened the probate court will issue you Letters Testamentary if the decedent had a will or Letters of Administration if the decedent died without a will. These Letters give you authority to handle the decedent’s affairs. Until the Letters are issued you have no authority to handle the decedent’s affairs. Unless the will waives bond, you will have to post a security bond before the Letters are issued.

Once the estate has been opened you will be responsible for performing certain duties in administering the estate. Our Tennessee probate attorneys will guide you through the probate process from opening the estate to closing the estate. We will file all required documents with the probate court. We will do as much or as little work as you require. Attorney fees in Tennessee are based on actual hours worked and not as a percentage of the total value of the estate. The attorney fees and expenses incurred are paid out of the estate. A Personal Representative may also be paid from the estate for hours worked and expenses incurred in administering the estate.

If you are a beneficiary of an estate you may need to consult an attorney if there is a conflict between you and the Personal Representative or other beneficiaries of the estate. The attorney who opened the estate represents the Personal Representative and does not represent you and cannot give you legal advice. Our Tennessee probate attorneys are available to review your case you if you are a beneficiary of an estate and need representation.

If you are named an executor in a will or if you need to open an estate for a person who died without a will call our Tennessee probate attorneys today at (615) 829-8259 to discuss the estate administration.


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