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Tennessee Personal Injury Lawyers > Knoxville Probate Lawyer

Knoxville Probate Lawyer

Probate is a court-supervised process that oversees the transfer of property from a decedent’s estate to the beneficiaries. The beneficiaries are the people or entities that have the legal right to the property. Many people think it is important to avoid the probate process, but it does have some advantages. Below, our Knoxville probate lawyer explains more about the process.

Do All Estates Go Through the Probate Process?

Not all estates have to go through the probate process. The process is only necessary when a person passed away with a will, or if the decedent owned property that was in their name only. There are many types of non-probate property that do not go through the process. These include property jointly owned with another person and property with beneficiary designations such as life insurance policies. These assets are transferred outside of the estate and can be transferred immediately to the beneficiaries.

How Does the Probate Process Work?

There are many different steps in the probate process. They are as follows:

  • Probate assets are identified,
  • The will is submitted to the court for validation,
  • The personal representative, or executor, is appointed and the estate is officially opened,
  • Notification of the opening of the estate is sent to beneficiaries, creditors, and the public,
  • The executor gathers the assets that will be passed through the estate,
  • Debts of the estate are paid,
  • Assets are distributed to the proper beneficiaries, and
  • The estate is closed.

When a person passes away without a will, the above steps are the same except for the proving of the will. The intestate laws of Tennessee will then determine how property within the estate will be distributed to the beneficiaries.

What Does an Executor Do?

Executors, also called personal representatives, handle the estate after someone passes away. If a person named an executor in their will and they are able to serve, they will take on the role. If a will is not left behind, the court will appoint one according to a certain priority. Surviving spouses are given first preference. If a surviving spouse is unwilling or unable to serve as executor, the next of kin is given preference. If more than one next of kin wants to serve, such as multiple children of the deceased, the court will decide who will serve.

Should You Avoid Probate?

Many people create estate plans with the goal of helping their loved ones avoid probate. The probate process can be long and expensive, but there are some advantages to it. Probate provides the opportunity to challenge creditors’ claims and provides formal oversight over the distribution of assets. This is particularly helpful when family members disagree. The decisions of neutral judges can help ensure that arguments do not create life-long rifts among the family.

Call Our Probate Lawyer in Knoxville Today

At Fox, Farley, Willis & Burnette, our Knoxville probate lawyer can help you navigate the process and avoid the challenges that commonly arise. Call us now at 865-766-4200 or contact us online to request a consultation with our experienced attorney and to learn more.

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