I am routinely asked by many clients and families What is the Probate Court Process Like in Tennessee?
As I normally say, Probate was designed as the orderly transition of property to the heirs and next of kin after death. However, today, Probate is anything but orderly. Typically, the probate process can be summarized as including the following steps:
1. Determining if the Decedent (the person who died) has a last will and testament;
2. If the Decedent does not have a last will and testament, contacting any and all heirs who may have a right to inherit from the probate estate;
3. Determining the nature and value of the Decedent's assets that are subject to probate;
4. Organizing and compiling the valid debts of the Decedent;
5. Creating a plan of distribution to the known heirs and next of kin.
In it's simplest terms, this is the probate court administration process in Tennessee. However, there are many steps inside the five basic steps that may be involved in your probate process depending upon the unique issues and circumstances with your case. For instance, your probate may be Common Form or Solemn Form. Common Form is the basic type of probate proceeding when everyone is getting along and there are no issues. Solemn Form is the probate proceeding where there are issues that need to be addressed. It is similar to a formal lawsuit with attorneys, court hearings, the exchange of evidence, and sometimes, even a trial.
Your probate proceeding may have a TennCare lien that needs to be resolved. This is a lien that gets placed upon your estate, and must be repaid, should the Decedent have incurred any Medicaid benefits during his or her lifetime.
Your probate proceeding may have a heir who was disinherited and now is contesting the proposed scheduled distribution of assets.
Your probate proceeding may have business interests that need to be valued by a Business Valuation Expert, and then the process of negotiating a cash settlement to be paid into the probate estate for distribution.
Your probate proceeding may have assets that need to be valued by an appraiser.
Your probate proceeding may have real estate that will need to be sold before the closing of the estate.
Your probate proceeding may include wrongful death or personal injury claims that need to be addressed before the closing of the estate.
There could be many other issues with your probate estate that will need to be addressed as well that go well beyond what we have discuss so far.
If you have experienced the death of a loved one and have questions regarding the probate administration process, please contact our office at (615) 370-3010 or via e-mail at [email protected] to schedule an initial consultation.
We look forward to helping you through this difficult time.