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Letters of Administration

Probate Attorneys Advising Nashville Residents

When a person dies without a will, certain proceedings and court involvement may be necessary to make sure the estate is handled properly and legally. Obtaining the documents to give the appropriate party control and access to estate matters is important in ensuring the assets are distributed according to the letter of the law. The Nashville probate lawyers at Martin Heller Potempa & Sheppard PLLC help family members who have lost a loved one navigate complicated proceedings to resolve an estate efficiently and appropriately. If you need assistance from an estate planning attorney, contact our office today to find out more about how we can assist you.

Letters of Administration in Probate Proceedings

When an individual leaves a valid will, probate begins when whoever is named as executor files the original will with the county clerk’s office where the deceased individual resided. Probate is the term used for the entire process of estate administration that occurs following an individual’s death, whether or not a will exists. After a will is filed, the person named as executor in the document is issued a “letters testamentary,” giving him or her the power over the estate’s assets. When no will exists, a court may need to determine the rightful heirs in order for the proceedings to continue. Depending on which family members survive the deceased person, such a process could require an intensive investigation, involving notice to potential heirs, or litigation when competing claims are present.

However, when an individual passes leaving behind a spouse or adult child, they are often the people to ask the court to be appointed as an administrator of the estate. After such a request, the court issues letters of administration, which appoint that family member as the personal representative of the estate. When an executor receives letters of administration, he or she then has access to a deceased loved one’s bank accounts or other assets. Banks, as well as other financial institutions, require documentation in the form of copies of letters of administration to allow such access. In Tennessee, if a small estate is involved, the court may issue an heirship affidavit to be used to conduct estate affairs. Administrators of an estate have certain duties once they are appointed, including ensuring that the property remains safe, taking inventory of all the property, and submitting accountings and inventories to the court. Administrators are also required to make sure all the debts and expenses of the deceased person are paid, including taxes, and they are also responsible for making the proper distributions to heirs.

Protect Your Interests by Enlisting a Probate Lawyer in Nashville or Beyond

Whether you have been appointed as an administrator or are seeking to become an administrator, there are often many factors to consider as well as documents to file with the court to ensure the proceedings flow smoothly. The Nashville probate attorneys at Martin Heller Potempa & Sheppard PLLC are dedicated to helping make sure that estate matters are handled correctly. Our firm also assists people in Franklin, Sylvan Park, East Nashville, Hermitage, and Brentwood, as well as other communities throughout Williamson and Davidson Counties. Call us at 615-800-7096 or contact us online to set up a free consultation.