I find that many clients have heard that the probate process can be time consuming and very expensive. In other states it often can be. In Wilson, Smith, Trousdale, Macon, Jackson, Dekalb, Sumner, Rutherford, Putnam and Davidson counties, the process can be taken care of in four months and the cost is very reasonable.
You have to know what you are doing, however, to navigate this system.
Often, you can’t sell real estate you’ve inherited if the estate hasn’t been properly handled. You need Tax Clearance letters and Tenn Care waivers. You also have to insure the proper notices to creditors have run in the paper and have been mailed out.
The Probate Attorney can handle all of this for you. The Executor of the Estate is required to bring us the original Last Will & Testament and from there the attorney can take care of most everything. A Court appearance is required usually only one time for the Executor. After that, unless there are problems with the estate, most all other Court appearances are handled without the Executor present.
If there isn’t a Will, we still probate the Estate. The Court will appoint an Administrator to serve in the same capacity as the Executor would have served. In cases without a Will, the estate is divided pursuant to Tennessee law because in this state if you don’t prepare your own Will, the State of Tennessee basically prepares one for you through our law of intestate succession. And again, you may not like who ends up with your life’s earnings, so I urge everyone to look into preparing a Will.
If you can’t find the Original Will, then we have a process for proving that the copy is the Last Will & Testament.