Probate and Will Administration
Throughout our lives we amass property, save money, and incur debt. All of the items we own or owe are considered a part of our estate. Preparing a will, which outlines how we want the assets in our estate distributed after our death, can make it much easier for our loved ones to administrate our estate through probate court.
Many people consult with wills lawyers to develop estate plans to avoid tax liabilities and probate. If you have not taken specific estate planning steps to avoid probate, the probate laws covering Memphis outline the process and the probate court supervises how your estate is administered after your death. If you die with a valid will, your estate is a testate estate. In a testate estate, the court appoints the representative you name in your will as the executor of your estate and supervises the activity of the executor to be sure the property is distributed according to the will.
If you die and you do not have a valid will, your estate is considered intestate. Intestate estates go through probate, just like estates with valid wills, but in intestate estates the court appoints an administrator to distribute the assets to your heirs according to Tennessee laws. The law generally distributes property as follows:
- If you are married with no children, the estate goes to your spouse
- If you are married with children, the estate goes to your spouse and children
- If you are unmarried with children, the estate goes to your children
- If you are unmarried with no children, the estate goes to surviving parents, or if they are not living, to your siblings
- If no living family members are identified, your estate passes to the state of Tennessee
Tennessee probate law requires executors and administrators of estates to be represented by probate attorneys. A lawyer guides you through the estate administration process ensuring you meet all legal, notification and reporting requirements. The lawyer also represents you if any of the heirs or family members contest or question your handling of the estate.
If you need assistance with probate or will administration, contact Memphis probate lawyers at the Baer Firm in Memphis for a free consultation. Our will attorneys have over 100 years of combined experience in estate planning and will administration.