What is the probate process like in Tennessee?

Many of our readers in Tennessee know that the probate process comes into play after a person dies. At that time, that person's estate must be collected, assessed and distributed. However, there are many people who don't know what the probate process is like and don't know what to expect.

So, what is the probate process like in Tennessee? Well, for small estates - typically worth less than $50,000 - the process may seem fairly simple. When it comes to a small estate, an affidavit can be filed with the probate court 45 days after the relevant death. The affidavit must state whether or not a will exists, list debts and assets, state where the decedent's property is located and who has possession, and, lastly, how notice will be provided to creditors.

However, most people have more assets than they ever realize. That is one of the reasons why it is such a good idea to go through the planning and drafting process for a comprehensive estate plan. With these larger estates, the personal representative of the deceased person's estate needs to go through the process of informing the probate court of the deceased person's assets and debts, and then make sure heirs are contacted so that assets can be distributed.

Unfortunately, even what may seem like a simple estate may need to go through what can be a complicated probate process. Although it is always best if a will or other estate plan exists, those who have estate planning and probate questions will likely need to get more information about their own unique situations.