Most estate planners in Tennessee will want to avoid probate. However, there are many situations when probate avoidance strategies aren't practical; or, it's simply too late to avoid probate and the owner of the estate is already deceased. Regardless of the situation, you might be curious who actually handles the probate process, which -- depending on the complexity of the estate -- could be a difficult process to navigate for the average Davidson residence.
In cases where the decedent has drafted a last will and testament, the executor of the estate will manage the probate proceedings. The executor will have been named inside the will by the owner of the estate. The executor will oversee the entire probate process. If no executor has been named, then the probate court will appoint an estate administrator. This person will usually be a relative or the heir who stands to inherit the most from the estate.
Here are the duties of the estate administrator or executor during probate:
- Obtain the original will.
- Hire a probate attorney to help navigate the process if necessary.
- Initiate and then manage the probate process from start to finish.
- Cancel all credit cards.
- Notify government entities that the decedent has passed away.
- Manage all assets.
- Oversee the process while the lawyer takes care of most of the work.
Sometimes probate isn't necessary for an estate. In these cases, an informal estate representative will pay debts, distribute property and finalize any remaining issues relating the estate. If you are trying to select an executor, or if you have been selected as an executor you may want to learn more about the legal rights and responsibilities of an executor during probate.