The Probate Process

A will contest can result in a significant delay in the distribution of a loved one's assets, and can also be expensive. The costs of will contest are paid out of the estate, which may significantly deplete the available funds. If you are concerned that a will may be subject to a will contest, contact an experienced probate and estate administration attorney right away.

With over 8 years of experience as a practicing attorney and 17 years of work experience in the legal field, attorney Mary C. LaGrone has the skills, knowledge, and efficiency to handle complex probate and estate administration issues. Our Tennessee estate administration attorney, Mary LaGrone, assists clients with a variety of probate matters, including conservatorships, guardianships, valid wills and will contests, trusts, and other issues involved in the probate or estate administration process.

Probate matters can be very complex and overwhelming without the assistance of a skilled attorney. Our probate attorney has handled many complex probate situations and understands Tennessee probate law. We have provided the following information as an overview of probate and estate administration. For more information or for experienced assistance, contact our Nashville probate lawyer today.

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The Probate Process

Probate is the court process used to determine the validity of a will and oversee the payment of creditors and distribution of estate assets. Even if there is no valid will at the time of death, the estate will still go through the probate procedure. Since probate is regulated by state laws, there are specific procedures prescribed by each state for carrying out the process.

If you are the executor of an estate, contact an experienced probate attorney at Mary C. LaGrone in Nashville, TN to schedule a consultation with an experienced probate attorney who can help you identify and carry out your estate administration duties.

Probating the Estate

Despite the variation in state laws, probating the estate generally includes the following functions:

  • Petitioning the court to probate the will
  • Sending notice to creditors, beneficiaries and any other interested parties
  • Collecting, inventorying and appraising all estate assets
  • Collecting any payments, debts and income due to the estate
  • Paying any debts owed by the estate, including filing and paying local, state and federal taxes
  • Distributing any remaining assets to beneficiaries in accordance with the terms of the will

Small Estates

Most states have a fast-track or simplified probate process for smaller estates that meet certain qualifications. Normally, this process allows probating the estate before a court administrator rather than the probate court which can cut down on the time and cost of probate.

Disadvantages of Probate

Time and expense: Probating an estate can be time-consuming, taking anywhere from 6 months to 2 years to complete. Contests to the validity of the will can increase the duration of the process. Probate also can be expensive, with any probate costs and fees coming out of the estate's funds.

Lack of privacy: Probate matters are part of the public record allowing anyone to find out the size, contents and beneficiaries of the estate. This lack of privacy can cause tension between family members.

Intestacy

If someone dies without a will or the probate court determines the will is invalid, that person is said to have died intestate. Each state has a set of default inheritance rules that apply in the absence of a will or other estate plan. These rules generally distribute property to the surviving spouse and children first followed by parents and other close family members. The only way to prevent the default rules from determining the distribution of assets is to have a valid will or trust in place before death.

Contact a Probate Attorney Today

An experienced probate and estate administration lawyer can help simplify the probate process for you. Contact Mary C. LaGrone in Nashville, TN for more information and to schedule a consultation.

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