The process and rules for probate vary from state to state. Basically, the process of a Tennessee probate allows heirs, surviving spouse, family members and sometimes even creditors to open a probate. Tennessee probates are generally opened to settle the financial affairs of the decedent. This is the legal process one must go through if they have assets only titled in their name, or if that person has a will the executor or executrix, also known as the personal representative, generally retains the attorney of their choice to help them with the probate process. The personal representative is generally entitled to a fee for their services and the attorney fees are generally taken from the estate. In a Tennessee probate, the court oversees how the estate of the deceased is administered and distributed. If the decedent had a will, then the terms of the will control. If the person dies without a will, then Tennessee laws of intestacy control. In the case of LaFollette or other parts of Tennessee, the process of probate generally takes between six months to a year. If the matters are complicated, or if the will is contested, the process can be longer.
In Caryville, Jacksboro, LaFollette, and most areas of Tennessee, probate of wills and estate administration is handled in chancery courts. In case of larger counties, there are separate probate courts to handle estate administration at the local level. The Tennessee estate tax was phased out and beginning in 2016, Tennessee does not have a state level estate tax. The code sections that administer estate tax and probate laws in Tennessee are as below:
- Code title 30: Administration of Estates
- Code title 31: Descent and Distribution
- Code 32: Wills
- Code 35: Fiduciaries and Trust Estates
The personal representative, executor, or executrix, has a duty to inform reasonably ascertainable creditors about the death of the decedent. A notice of death is published in the local newspaper by the court clerk. Within 60 days, the representative needs to submit an inventory of all assets mentioned in the will or assets that need to go through probate unless all heirs agree or inventory is specifically waived in the will. Personal representatives need to notify all persons who are liable to inherit under the will or state laws.
Tennessee law does not require all assets to go under probate. Properties that do not need to undergo the probate process are called non-probate assets. Generally, only individually owned assets of the deceased can go through the probate process.
If you are the executor, creditor or heir to any will, it is important to understand how the probate process works in Tennessee.
The process of probate is fairly simple for small estates. It requires the filing of an affidavit in the court after 45 days of the death of the relevant person. If the deceased person has left a will, the executor named in the will has to submit the signed and original will in the probate office. The executor of the will has authority over any assets of the will. The validity of the will needs to be proven in court.