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What if there was no will?

The sudden loss of your loved one is heartbreaking. The last thing you and your family want to think about is taking care of the practical details of the estate. You are likely stressed if you have been given this responsibility.

If there is no will, or if there is a problem with the will, you are probably facing what is called the probate process. This is a court-supervised process that helps the family of the person who has died organize the details of the deceased's estate.

In many states probate is a contentious process, and people often ask if they can avoid it. While it does resolve any disputes that might arise, in Tennessee, it is used for many reasons.

Some things to understand about the probate process:

When there is a no will, the state will write one for you.

If there is a will, the court will confirm that the will is valid and that that the wishes of the person who has died will be honored.

Someone will be put in charge of the practical details of setting the affairs of the person who has passed away. It might be the person designated in the will to do this. This person is responsible for 'administering the estate.'

Probate will help with the transfer of estate property to the beneficiaries according to the will or by the state laws in this area. This property can include:

  • Land or property owned in the name of the person who died
  • Investments, stocks or other large property items in the name of the person who died
  • Bank accounts belonging to the person who died

Probate also helps pays any bills, outstanding debts, and taxes owed - a notice will be sent to anyone who is owed money so that they have an opportunity to receive payment.

If you loved one died suddenly and you have been given the responsibility of taking care of the details of the estate, you may not know what to do. Firstly, it is important not to panic. Secondly, it is crucial to gather all the financial details of what is left behind.

The more organized you are the better. This process is complicated and you probably have many questions. It is important to have an experienced estate lawyer help you with this delicate matter.

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