Do you know if you should avoid probate?
What is Probate?
It is the legal process of presenting your Will to the Court,
after your death to authenticate it, and appoint your Executor.
If there is no Will, a hearing will be held to appoint a personal representative. Once appointed by the Court, this person is to collect assets, pay your bills, and distribute your assets as stated in your Will or by the State intestacy laws. This is a legal process and you must follow certain steps. In Tennessee, however, it is not as difficult as in many states.
Your attorney will have to file a Petition.
If you have a "self-proving Will," there is no need for witnesses, however, if there is no Will or there are issues with the Will you must have witnesses
The proposed Executor/Administrator will have to attend Court
The proposed Executor/Administrator will have to attend Court, give testimony, and agree to perform certain duties. A Bond may have to be provided if there is no Will or if the Will fails to state a Bond is not required.
After your Executor/Administrator is appointed
After your Executor/Administrator is appointed, estate administration begins. It is a period of time the law permits the Executor/Administrator to perform their duties, some of which include notifying creditors, heirs and beneficiaries, and the administration of the estate. This period is a minimum of four months after the appointment. However, in most cases, it normally will take around nine months. If there are any disputes or problems, it can take much longer.
If you die without a will, the process is similar,
but the state decides who gets your assets, not you.
Unfortunately, probate is unpredictable. That's why many people chose to avoid it, but if all of your heirs agree and your assets are centralized, it can go smoothly.
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Depending on where you are in life, Estate Planning could include some, or all of the following:
Durable Power of Attorney
Medical Power of Attorney
Last Wills & Testaments
Advanced Care Directives