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.