Probate and Estate Planning
Our Goodlettsville estate planning attorneys are equipped to help you plan for the unknown for yourself or your loved ones. We have extensive experience helping generations of families in the Goodlettsville, Nashville, Hendersonville, White House, and Springfield community tackle estates, both large and small, and help get you through the probate process with ease. You can count on our estate attorneys to stay knowledgeable with the local rules of court and Tennessee law to ensure your estate, or an estate of a loved one, is properly prepared or administered.Probate and Administration of an Estate
Under Tennessee law, when an individual dies leaving a Last Will and Testament he or she is considered to die “testate.” On the other hand, when an individual dies without a Will, they die “intestate.” When an individual passes away without a Will or without a valid Will, the Tennessee Laws of Intestate Succession apply (T.C.A § 31-2-101). Most of the time, without a valid Will, an individual related or close to the deceased person has to go to court to petition to be appointed Administrator of the Estate. Upon court approval, that individual is then granted Letters of Administration. When a deceased person dies leaving a valid Will and an Executor is named in the Will, this individual petitions the court to probate the Will. If the judge finds the Will is valid and executed in accordance with Tennessee law, he or she will be granted Letters Testamentary to start distributing the estate in accordance with the Will.
When Tennessee Laws of Intestate Succession Apply (No Valid Will):
- Survived by a spouse and children : The surviving spouse will inherit either one-third (1/3) of the deceased spouse's estate or a child's share of the entire estate, whichever is greater. The children will then inherit the balance, per stirpes. For example, if the total estate is valued at $300,000 and the deceased person was survived by a spouse and one child, then the surviving spouse will inherit $150,000 and the child will inherit $150,000; or if the deceased spouse was survived by a spouse and three children, then the surviving spouse will inherit $100,000 (1/3 of the estate) and the children will split the remaining $200,000 and receive $66,666.67 each.
- Survived by a spouse and no children: In this case, the surviving spouse will inherit the deceased spouse's entire estate.
- Survived by children and no spouse: In this case, the deceased person's descendants will inherit the entire estate, per stirpes. That means “equally” but if a child predeceases you, his or her children (your grandchildren) will equally share the deceased child’s portion.
A Last Will and Testament is a legal instrument declarative of a person’s intention to be performed after his or her death with respect to the disposition of his or her property, including both real and personal property, a preference for the guardianship of his or her minor children, or the administration of the individual’s estate. Under Tennessee law, any person of sound mind (which is statutorily defined) and at least 18 years of age is capable of making a Will.
Tennessee recognizes three types of Wills:
- Attested Wills – This is the most common type of Will. This is a formal typed Will that our attorneys would draft for you based on your particular needs and desires at the time of your death. (T.C.A. §32-1-104)
- Holographic Will – The Will and signature are entirely in the handwriting of the Testator. (T.C.A. §32-1-105)
- Nuncupative Will – an Oral Will. (T.C.A. §32-1-106)
As you might imagine, an Attested Will ensures your desires are carried out at the time of your death. Tennessee law requires specific statutory standards and guidelines for a Last Will and Testament to be deemed valid and properly executed. Our attorneys are knowledgeable and up-to-date with Tennessee law to ensure your Will is validly executed so that you can remain confident your estate will be distributed as you desire.
Our team of attorneys can help you navigate the probate process to ensure the estate is administered properly and in accordance with Tennessee Law. We do this efficiently and cost-effectively for you and your family. Call one of our Davidson County estate lawyers today (615) 859-1328.