When a loved one passes away, it is the responsibility of those left behind to settle the estate and deal appropriately with all assets. The process of settling an estate and transferring wealth is not easy, and family members may be unsure of how to proceed. If you find yourself in this situation, it might be beneficial to familiarize yourself with the probate process.
Probate is legally transferring someone's property after his or her death, a process overseen by the court. In some cases, this can be a complex undertaking, but it can be helpful to be prepared for what's ahead. Many people facing the likelihood of probate find it beneficial to secure experienced guidance before they proceed.
Expectations for what's ahead
The probate process moves much faster when no one is contesting the terms of the will. However, whether there are issues or not, the probate process will include the following steps:
- Pay any debts still owed by the decedent, including taxes
- Collect all property owned by the decedent expected to go through probate
- Identify and collect any remaining income sources, such as dividends and investment profits
- Settle any disputes that are still ongoing between heirs, beneficiaries and other interested parties
- Distribute remaining property to the appropriate heirs and beneficiaries
In most cases, a person will name someone to act on his or her behalf as the executor of the estate. If you are the executor of the estate, this means that you will oversee the process of transferring and settling the estate, including probate.
Walking through the appropriate steps of settling an estate and ensuring that your loved one's wishes are expressed in his or her will is a tremendous responsibility. If you are the executor of an estate, there is significant benefit in securing legal guidance to ensure you do not commit any mistakes that could delay or lengthen the probate process.
Addressing all of your estate planning concerns
Whether you are drafting your will and have questions about probate or you want to know how to navigate this step as executor of an estate, it is prudent to get the help you need as soon as possible. When it comes to estate planning concerns, there is no time to delay in having the right answers and necessary support.
You may want to discuss your concerns with an estate planning attorney familiar with probate, the administration of an estate and probate laws in Tennessee.