No one wants their heirs and beneficiaries to have to go through probate proceedings. The process can be slow and costly to complete. Nevertheless, every Tennessee estate must be reviewed and closed out by a Tennessee probate court. This, however, does not mean that your heirs should have to wait for their inheritances.
With proper planning, there are various estate planning strategies that can be employed to bypass the probate process for certain assets and certain heirs. One of the most common probate-avoidance strategies relates to joint property ownership.
Jointly owned property -- if you have established the "right of survivorship" -- will allow the joint owner of the property to skip probate proceedings. At the moment of your death, you will no longer own the particular piece of property at issue, and the living joint owner will receive full ownership rights. Generally speaking, when you establish joint ownership of property with someone, you establish what is called "Joint Tenancy with a Right of Survivorship.
It's wise to formalize any Joint Tenancy with a Right of Survivorship relationship between two people. If, for example, you're considering setting up such a relationship with someone, so that he or she will receive certain property after you're gone, it's wise to contract the services of a Tennessee estate planning lawyer.
Your estate planning lawyer can draw up the necessary documentation to ensure that any joint tenancy relationship you formalize will stand the test of legal scrutiny in court. Your estate planning attorney can also offer additional probate avoidance strategies through the use of a trust and other legal tools.
Source: FindLaw, "Avoiding the Probate Process," accessed June 14, 2017