Probate Process in Rutherford County
What to Expect from Probate
Probate is the court-supervised procedure of proving that a will is valid, paying off all claims against an estate and distributing the remaining assets to the heirs named in the will. Most estates will have to go through the probate process in order to complete the transfer of property to the beneficiaries named in the will.
When someone dies with a will, they appoint an executor to administrate their estate upon their death. Once the person passes, the will is admitted to probate and proven. Once the will is proven, the judge appoints the executor (the person generally named in the will). If there was no will and the person died intestate (without a will), then the court shall appoint an administrator to settle the estate. Executors and administrators are also called personal representatives or fiduciaries and their duties are virtually the same. The executor or administrator is held to the highest standards and they have an enormous responsibility on their shoulders; some of their duties include:
- Collect all assets on behalf of the estate
- Place estate assets into specific estate accounts
- Pay creditors' claims according to state laws
- Produce accountings (where required by the court)
- Pay the decedent's final state and federal tax returns
- Pay any necessary estate or inheritance taxes
- Maintain and preserve any estate property
- Collect income on rents, dividends, etc.
- Defend the estate against any will contests
- Distribute the remaining assets to beneficiaries named in the will
Murfreesboro Probate Attorney
Wills are only required to be filed with the probate court when it's necessary to open up a probate administration. For example, if someone dies and all of their assets are held jointly with the right of survivorship or if they list another person as a beneficiary, then no probate is required. Probate administration is only required when there are assets in the decedent's individual name or if assets pass to the decedent's estate. On average, probate takes from four to twelve months to complete, but it can take longer when real estate has to be sold or when there are will contests.
The courts will not allow someone to represent themselves as a fiduciary because there are other people involved such as creditors, heirs, and beneficiaries under a will. While serving as a fiduciary, one must have an attorney. As a Murfreesboro probate lawyer, I am here to guide you through the probate process with ease and confidence. Contact me today at (615) 200-9359 to schedule a consultation!