Our Probate Services
Probate is a legal proceeding necessary to administer certain kinds of property owned by the decedent, to confirm that claims, expenses and taxes are properly paid, and to ensure that the remaining estate is distributed to those entitled to receive it under the decedent’s will, or Tennessee intestacy law, if someone dies without a will.
Probate is necessary to give the executor or administrator legal authority to deal with the decedent’s probate assets. A will alone does nothing until the court determines it is valid. Once the will is properly validated by the court and the probate estate is opened, the executor or administrator has the authority and duty to take control of and safeguard the assets of the decedent’s estate. Probate provides a process for the payment of outstanding debts, taxes and expenses of administration, and for the distribution of the remainder of the estate to the beneficiaries and heirs.
Generally some of the decedent’s property will not be probate property, and thus is not part of the probate proceeding. This includes property held by the decedent and another individual as joint tenants with right of survivorship; property held in a trust; accounts that are payable on death or that transfer on death to a named beneficiary; and insurance or retirement benefits that are payable to a named beneficiary.
Probating an estate requires the appointment of a person to conduct the administration of the estate. If there is a will, this person usually named in the will and is called an executor. If there is no will or no person named in the will, this person is appointed by the probate court and is called an administrator.