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Probate preview: What is the process all about?

| Feb 21, 2017 | Estate Planning |

Unless your loved ones take steps to avoid the probate process while creating their estate plans, you will likely find yourself going through such legal proceedings after their deaths. If a loved one appointed you executor of the estate, you may have a bigger role to play in the proceedings, but nonetheless, you may find yourself involved if you stand to inherit any property or face any other connection to the estate.

Many individuals consider probate a common legal process. However, most parties may not fully understand what takes place during those proceedings.

Goal of probate

Transferring a deceased individual’s property to surviving parties remains the main goal of probate proceedings. Typically, individuals utilize their wills to designate the recipients of their remaining property. However, certain insurance policies and bank accounts may not go through probate due to having their own beneficiary designations associated with the accounts.

Addressing debts

If your loved one died with debt, the addressing of those debts takes place during the probate proceedings as well. Creditors have a certain period of time in which they may come forward and lay claims against the estate in order to have their debts repaid. In some cases, debts may affect property distribution.

Contested proceedings

Though many individuals may go through the probate process without many difficulties, you may face contested probate proceedings. In such cases, an individual may file a dispute against the estate due to believing an issue exists with the will or other similar topics. Many disputes come about due to individuals feeling that they did not receive their fair share of the estate.

Transferring of property

Once all creditor claims have settled, disputes have closed and the court and executor have addressed all other necessary aspects, the distribution of remaining property may take place. The executor often faces the task of contacting all applicable individuals in order for them to become aware of their inheritances. This action often takes place at the beginning of the probate process as to give parties time to come forward with any concerns regarding the estate they may have.

Time frame

Each probate case carries on for different time periods. If the case with which you have involvement goes uncontested and no conflicts with the necessary documents exist, you may go through a quick legal process. However, disputes and conflicts could cause a case to drag out for a longer time.

If you have questions regarding a loved one’s probate process or would like to gain information on how to plan for you own estate’s future probate proceedings, you may wish to consult with an experienced Tennessee attorney. Speaking with a legal professional could allow you to gain useful information and have any related concerns addressed.