Can Estate Cases Bypass Probate?

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You have probably heard many estate planning experts advise people to plan so that their estates can avoid going to probate in Murfreesboro. Yet even still, a great number of estate cases are processed through local probate courts. These proceedings can often be drawn out, resulting in legal fees that can take a significant bite out of an estate’s assets. If your loved one left behind an estate with a relatively low value, then you may worry that a majority of that value will be eaten up by probate costs. Yet it does not have to be that way.

State officials do not want to see the assets that local residents have built up over their lifetimes taken away by legal costs. Thus, they have provided a method through which you can help your deceased loved one’s estate bypass the probate process altogether. Per Tennessee’s code on the Administration of Estates, this option is only available if their estate has a total value of less than $50,000.

If this is the case, then 45 days after your loved one has passed away, you (provided that you are one of their heirs or have been named as their personal representative in their will) can petition the court to have the property of their estate released to the appropriate parties (both to creditors and beneficiaries). In your petition, you must include the following information:

  • Whether or not your loved one left a will
  • A list of all of their remaining unpaid debts
  • An itemized list of all of the estate’s assets
  • A breakdown of all of those entitled to receive estate property

Skipping probate for a small estate is only an option if no powers of appointment have yet been filed in your loved one’s estate case.

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