Not all properties go into probate. Things like payable or transfer on death accounts go directly to the assigned beneficiaries, survivorship designations for married couples Read more
and specific assets with beneficiary designations aren’t touched by probate. Anything outside of this realm will have to go through probate court.
First and foremost, someone needs to be named the executor of the estate. If the deceased has left clear instructions in the will as to who the executor should be, that person immediately assumes the role. If this is not the case, spouses or children of the deceased need to petition the court to be named the executor of the estate before anything can be used or distributed.
Tennessee has some of the easiest probate options in the country. Some estates may be eligible for what is called simplified probate, and knowing how to use it can save you a lot of time and money. If the total value of the estate is less than $50,000 excluding any real estate, all heirs can come together to file an affidavit with the probate court to request simplified probate.
To be granted simplified probate, you need to prepare a complete list of assets along with the death certificate of the individual whose estate is being handled. All heirs must prepare a written statement that signifies that they agree to the procedure. The court will then approve or disapprove the claim. If the claim is approved, the executor of the estate is immediately free to release all of the assets to the inheritors – including any properties.
Larger estates call for more complicated procedures, and beneficiaries have 60 days to complete this process with the court. If there is a will, the will must be validated by the court. If there is not, what happens with the assets, including the properties left behind by the deceased, falls solely into the hands of the appointed executor.
First, an inventory of assets has to be compiled and presented to the court if there are any disagreements among beneficiaries pertaining to the inventory. If all beneficiaries agree that this is not necessary, you may be able to bypass this step. Then, everyone who is entitled to an inheritance by the will or Tennessee state law must be notified.
Next, you need to file a release request with TennCare. This is a document that states that the Medicaid offices won’t come after the estate for costs of care. During the 60 days of the probate process, any other creditors or lenders may come forward to seek restitution on outstanding debts. Once these debts are settled out of the estate, the matter is closed. At this point, any funds can be distributed and properties are free to be sold.