The probate courts in Tennessee only deal with very specific situations. They review the estate plan or will that someone leaves behind when they die and monitor the administration of the estate. When someone dies without a will, the probate courts distribute their property in accordance with Tennessee’s intestate succession laws.
Probate court is also where contested estates wind up. If someone challenges your wishes, the probate courts will determine how to handle your estate. Is it possible for you to plan ahead for your assets to completely bypass probate court?
Small estates may not need to go through probate
If you don’t have a substantial amount of personal property and you don’t own real estate, you may not need to do anything special for your estate to avoid Tennessee probate proceedings. However, if you own your own home or any other real property, or if your estate has substantial assets, the property just in your name will have to pass through probate court. If your estate is worth less than $50,000, probate may not be necessary.
If you have more property than that or own a home, there are still ways for you to plan to avoid probate. Some people can sidestep probate requirements by moving assets into a trust or arranging for them to transfer to someone else at the time of their death. Other people change the title of their home or make gifts to their loved ones before they die.
Considering the nature and value of the assets you want to leave behind can help you plan your estate so that it doesn’t go through probate court.