If you are dealing with an estate that has to go through the probate process in Tennessee, your smartest move is going to be to work with a probate lawyer in Nashville. There are cases where very simple estates will move through fairly easily, but there is still a matter of paperwork, accounting, etc. to consider; and a probate lawyer can save you an incredible amount of time and hassle.
Do your estate in advance to avoid probate
The best way to avoid the need for a probate lawyer in Nashville is to make sure that your estate planning has been done in advance. This means that you’ve set up wills, trusts, and any other applicable legal documents so that those you leave behind won’t have to deal with taking the entire estate through the court system. Trusts, such as a revocable living trust, are one of the most common tools for avoiding probate, but there are some other possible options. I’ve outlined them for you below:
Having a Will does not guarantee you will not go to probate
Some people think that having a Will (also known as a last will and testament) means that your estate will bypass the process. However, any reputable probate lawyer in Nashville will tell you that this isn’t the case. Having a Will is certainly still important, as it provides important directions for the passing of your estate, but it doesn’t get your heirs off the hook when it comes to probate.
Small estates may be able to avoid probate
If the estate is truly a “small” one, then you may be able to avoid probate. This can happen in cases where the only thing left behind is personal property. In these situations, there is no true estate to be inherited. The laws regarding the allowable value of an estate to be considered in this group do change, so it might be helpful to at least chat with a probate lawyer to see if the estate qualifies. If so, the heir may be able to create an affidavit that will work instead of going through probate. There are also some simplified court procedures available to heirs of these very small estates.
*If you are needing to transfer the property and assets of a small estate, we want you to check out our Tennessee Transfer Toolkit. It’s the perfect guide for transferring Tennessee estates that don’t need probate.
Payable-on-death-accounts can be transferred without going through probate
Many banks and other financial institutions allow for accounts to be transferred after death without going through probate. It’s a good idea to discuss your inheritance plan with a Nashville probate lawyer or estate planning attorney to ensure that this is a good option for you. This kind of planning has to be done in advance and should take your entire estate plan into account.
These are just a couple of tools available to those who want to avoid the eventual need for a probate lawyer. If they have not been put into place, or you’re not sure if these rules apply to you, we invite you to schedule a free call with us to see how we can help.
A Davidson County will and trust lawyer’s job is to make sure that you have all of your ducks in a row so that if you become incapacitated or die, your loved ones will know how to manage your estate and follow your wishes. Laws in Tennessee vary from those found around the country, which is why you want to work with an attorney who is skilled in understanding your specific needs. One area that should be considered is your service providers.
Make a list of your service providers and put it in your estate plan
“Service providers” covers a wide range of individuals involved in your life. Should you be unable to communicate with them, you want to ensure that your trustee, executor, conservator, or other responsible person is able to communicate with them on your behalf. Having them all listed in one place will make this job much more manageable.
This list should include all of the people or companies that you deal with when it comes to the maintenance of your home. In some cases, your home will need to continue to function in your absence, and your representative will need to be able to contact these people to make sure things keep running smoothly. In other cases, whether you are deceased or incapacitated, there are certain services that you may no longer need, and the person in charge needs to be able to contact the service providers and cancel with them.
Some examples of household providers that you will want to list might include:
Food or water delivery
Heating/Cooling system maintenance
Heating oil delivery
Pool or spa maintenance
Basically, anything that you have performed on a regular basis should be noted, along with contact and payment information.
Medical Service Providers
You should also provide your representative with contacts for your medical service providers. This information could be very valuable should you need medical attention but be unable to reach out to these providers on your own. Additionally, if you have standing appointments with these providers, it will be helpful to have them canceled so you don’t accrue charges for services you’re not using.
Some of the medical service providers you may want to include on your list are:
Primary care physician
Personal Service Providers
There are other types of regular services that you may use, and you’ll want to include these as well for the same reasons already mentioned. Some personal service providers to keep in mind for inclusion:
Home care provider
Along with the contact information for these service providers, it’s a good idea to make notes about when they are expected, and you may even want to include service agreements and contracts. For example, if you have a standing arrangement to have your sprinkler system blown out each fall, make a note of that.
Your estate planning attorney may not include all of this information directly in your estate plan, but they will want to be able to assist your family with where it can be located when the need arises.
If you are seeking estate planning services, please book a call with our office here .
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