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What should you do after a loved one passes away?

When a loved one passes away, it can be hard to know how to start settling their affairs. Perhaps they have bills coming due and you can't access their bank account. Perhaps they have a house that's sitting there empty--who does it belong to now? These are common questions and our estate attorney can help walk you through your particular situation. 

Will or No Will? The first question to consider is whether your loved one had a Last Will and Testament or not. A Last Will and Testament is a legally enforceable document that dictates how a person would like to have his or her property and assets distributed after death.

Sometimes, people do not have a Last Will and Testament. In that situation, the State of Tennessee has certain statutes that govern how a deceased person's property is going to be distributed. 

Whether you find a Last Will and Testament or not, the next step is almost always probate. There are some exceptions that our estate attorney can discuss with you in more detail.

What is probate anyway?  Probate is the process where the property owned by a deceased person is transferred into the name of beneficiaries under the Last Will and Testament or heirs-at-law according to Tennessee statutes. 

The probate process begins with a Petition to the court to appoint someone as the Personal Representative of the estate. More traditionally, this was called the "Executor" or the "Administrator" of the estate. This person is issued special Letters by the Court that allow him or her to essentially step into the shoes of the deceased person to take care of the final affairs. 

How long does probate take? The process typically takes four to twelve months, depending on the complexity of the estate.

Our estate attorney will walk you through each step of the process to ensure that everything is handled properly, from filing the paperwork to open the estate with the court to distributing the estate’s assets and paying remaining debts.

Questions? Call Us First!

Have more questions? Give us a call and schedule a free consultation with one of our experienced, compassionate attorneys. 


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