When someone passes away, it’s often necessary to go to probate court. If they have a last will and testament, it will be evaluated by the court. The idea is to “prove” whether or not the will is valid. If there’s no will, it’s still necessary to show what the decedent owned and what they owed, then go to court. Probate can be complicated in Tennessee. It’s a good idea to understand some of the basics before entering the system.
When there’s a will
When the deceased person has left a will behind, all that really needs to be done is to read it. Naming an executor to handle your affairs after your death is one of the main reasons to draft a will. If an executor is clearly named, all you need to do is get the will to them. They will be responsible for initiating the process with the probate court.
When there’s no will
If the decedent was intestate, that makes things a little more complicated. Someone will need to tally up all the assets and debts that they were responsible for. It will still be necessary to go to probate court. In a situation like this, it’s very advisable to make contact with an experienced lawyer who has handled estate cases before. They may be able to help you get everything in order in anticipation of going to court.
Every jurisdiction is slightly different when it comes to how they handle probate court. That’s why legal advice can be so helpful. County and state offices can also be great resources. They will let you know what documents are required to open probate, and may even furnish you with copies of them.