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What are the primary parts of the probate process?

Probate is the legal process that happens after someone dies. Probate court proceedings will determine the assets that someone has left behind and how to distribute them to heirs. If your loved one or relative has died, and probate proceedings are about to begin, here's what you can expect from the process:

-Determining whether a will exists, whether other wills may exist and which will is ultimately the one that's valid. If no valid will exists, then the distribution of the estate will be governed by Tennessee intestacy laws.

-Determining who the estate administrator, estate representative or executor will be.

-Creating a ledger that tallies up all of the assets that make up the estate as well as the debts related to the estate.

-Using the estate assets to pay off all outstanding debts and taxes associated with the estate.

-Identifying the heirs and potential heirs. The probate process will also offer potential heirs and potential creditors a chance to step forward and make a claim against the estate or to contest the will.

-Taking the remaining estate assets and distributing them to heirs as indicated within the will, or in accordance with Tennessee intestacy laws.

The probate process will not begin until the estate representative submits a legal petition with the death certificate to the appropriate probate court. It will end after the probate court closes the estate.

Navigating the probate process for a deceased loved one is not entirely straightforward. For this reason, many estate representatives, estate administrators and executors seek legal assistance from an experienced estate planning attorney to help ensure they don't make any mistakes during the administration of the estate.

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