There are a number of reasons that you may want to take steps to avoid probate in Tennessee. Preparing your estate plan in a way that does not require your assets to go through probate may be helpful to your loved ones.
One reason that people prefer to avoid probate is that it is a public process. The details of an estate can be accessed by anyone who goes to the courthouse or, in some cases, even online. If you pass your assets using trusts, beneficiary designations, payable-on-death accounts and similar tools, your estate will remain private.
One problem that can arise during the probate process is that family members may need access to your money to pay your mortgage, utilities and other bills or even for the funeral. It could take months or longer to get this access, and family members could be scrambling for money in the meantime. This could be particularly hard if you have dependents.
Cost is another reason some people may want to avoid probate. The process itself can be expensive, and some assets are better protected from tax by being passed using a trust or other vehicles. However, there are also costs associated with a trust, so you may want to discuss your plans with an attorney to determine which would be better for you.
You can also use a combination of a will and other vehicles in your estate plan. Some people who have a trust use what is called a “pour-over will,” which moves any assets not already placed in the trust into it on the person’s death. The best choices for you will vary based on your individual circumstances, and an attorney might be able to advise you regarding your options.