Many people view the probate process with wariness. This is in part due to confusion about it.
Since probate proceedings have the potential to be simple or complex, there are many misconceptions floating around about them.
1. If you have a will your estate does not go through probate
This misconception may arise from the fact that trusts do not have to go through probate. However, simply having a will is not enough to avoid probate. In general, unless there is careful planning, estates must go through probate in Tennessee for proper distribution of assets and payment of debts, with the exception of certain assets like trusts. There is a simpler probate process available for estates worth $50,000 or less.
2. If you do not have a will, the government seizes your property
When an individual dies intestate (without a will), the government only receives your estate if you have no living relatives. The state of Tennessee distributes the person’s property to his or her spouse and children first, if they are alive. If they are not, it then sees the decedent’s parents as the heir. If your parents did not survive the individual, the court continues going through relatives (siblings, cousins and so on) in a certain order. until they find an inheritor or find that the deceased has no living ones.
3. Probate is always long and expensive
This depends on the size of the estate, how fast the family fills out the appropriate paperwork and the court itself among other factors. Individuals challenging the will may delay the process.
How probate proceedings go depends on the estate, those involved with it and the law. There do exist ways to avoid probate for some or all of an estate.