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Frequently Asked Questions About Probate
When you pass away, your remaining estate can be subject to the probate process. Probate processes can be confusing and extended, even for people who have experienced probate before.
To help you better understand how probate works, we have answered some commonly asked probate questions for you.
What Is Probate?
Probate is the term commonly used to describe the process of transferring assets from the decedents name alone to the beneficiaries named in the decedents Will. If the decedent does not have a Will, then the assets are distributed in accordance with the Tennessee Code.
What Are The Drawbacks Of Probate?
Probate is not the ideal way to manage your estate. Probate can result in:
- Expensive litigation
- Long legal proceedings
- Reduced privacy on your dedicated assets
- Property allocated in ways you do not want
- Distributed assets being subject to potentially high taxes
Rather than leaving your estate subject to potentially public disputes, there are a number of options to explore. Our attorneys can help you understand the full range of choices and how they can impact your estate management.
Are There Options To Avoid Probate?
Yes. While a will is still subject to probate, there are many trust options that avoid probate entirely. These can be set up in ways that provide:
- High levels of privacy for you and your trust’s beneficiaries
- Full to limited control over the trust’s use by beneficiaries
- Ways to avoid hefty estate or capital gains taxes
- Protection from future debtors or asset division during divorce
To discuss the types of trusts that best fit your estate, speak with one of our lawyers.
Do I Need An Attorney?
The probate of a decedents estate is governed by the probate court of the county in which the decedent resided at the time of his or her death. Each court has its own set of local rules. Davidson County local rules require you to hire an attorney to help you with the probate process. All other counties do not have such a requirement. Unless you have experience serving as executor, we suggest you hire an attorney to help guide you through the probate process, at least for the first time you serve.
Why Should I Hire Russ Cook & Associates, PC?
More than 6,000 families in Brentwood and the Middle Tennessee area have trusted our lawyers for more than 30 years. Our founding attorney is trusted with others’ professional education and was the very first Tennessee attorney to specialize in estate planning.