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What is Probate?

What is Probate?Nashville Probate Lawyers|Turner Law Offices, P.C.

Probate is the legal process of executing the final wishes of a deceased person outlined in their Last Will and Testament.  The probate process involves determining all of the assets and debts of the deceased, then paying all lawful debts, taxes, and burial expenses.  Then, the remainder of the assets are distributed in accordance to the will by the executor. The probate court is responsible for making sure that the will is legally valid, then oversees the entire process, making sure that everything is above board.  If there are disputes between the beneficiaries or issues arise with creditors, the court will make the final determination.

Do You Need A Will To Avoid Probate?

Yes.  The primary reason people have a Last Will and Testament or living trust is to avoid probate, i.e. any claims against the estate that reduce the inheritance of the beneficiaries. The main reason people want to avoid probate is because probate is expensive, and the costs and expenses of probate come from the inheritance and are paid BEFORE the beneficiaries receive their inheritance.  If a Will or Living Trust has not been written before you die, there is no way for your wishes to be carried out.  The estate is probated by a process called an Administration, and your assets will pass in accordance with the law of intestacy.  Your heirs will receive their legal share after all expenses are paid by the administrator.  Administration can be much more costly than having a Will or Living Trust; these documents direct what happens to your real and personal property and how and when debts are paid.

What Is The Probate Process?

Once a person dies, if there is a Last Will and Testament, a Petition to Probate Will is filed by an attorney.  Once this Petition is filed, the following generally happens:

  • The Judge determines the validity of the Last Will and Testament
  • The Executor is approved by the Judge
  • A Notice to Creditors is published to determine all valid debts against the estate
  • A Department of Revenue Release is requested
  • A TennCare Release is requested
  • Any will contest is brought to the Judge’s attention
  • The Executor pays all legally valid claims and distributions are made in accordance to the Will
  • The estate is closed

Who Can Prepare Your Last Will and Testament?

Some people write their own Will or purchase documents online; this is VERY dangerous!!  It is always best to hire a probate attorney for the following reasons:

  • Attorneys write Wills in legally relevant terms so the Will holds up in probate court
  • Attorneys  make sure the Will is executed in accordance with the required procedures
  • Attorneys give tax advise and warn of consequences that will cost more in taxes
  • Attorneys plan the distribution of your estate so that your beneficiaries receive more
  • Attorneys review the Will to make sure that there are no conflicts in your wishes

 Talk To A Probate Lawyer Today!!

The best time to speak to a probate lawyer is when you are healthy, and have the time to spend properly planning the distribution of your estate upon your death.  While there are certain contingencies or emergencies that make writing a Will imminent, you have to write down your wishes and meet with a probate attorney to get the proper advice in preparing your Last Will and Testament.  At Turner Law Offices, P.C., our probate attorneys have over 20 years experience helping people plan their estates after their death.  Schedule your Free Initial Consultation Online or call our office to meet with one of our probate lawyers in person.

(615) 259-2660

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