Probate FAQs

When issues arise within an estate after a loved one passes, or conservatorship needs to be created, Tennessee families likely have questions about the probate litigation process. At Martin Heller Potempa & Sheppard, PLLC, we can guide you through the process. If you have questions about the Tennessee probate process, take a look at our FAQs.

What are probate estate/probate assets?

Assets that have to go through the probate process become what is known as the probate estate. However, not all assets have to go through the process. Assets that the deceased owned in his or her name alone must undergo probate–but not in all circumstances.

When is probate required?

Probate, or estate litigation, is required in Tennessee when someone contests or believes part of the estate is invalid. In addition, it may be required in the following situations:

  • Will Contests: One of the most common probate proceedings is a will contest. A will contest is used to determine whether the will is valid, as well as what beneficiaries are entitled to.
  • Trust Disputes: When trust assets are mixed with personal funds or a trustee has not disclosed relevant information, trust disputes may be necessary.
  • Medical/Financial Decision Disputes: When there are Powers of Attorney in place to make decisions should a loved one be unable to make their own decisions, there may be issues that arise where family members do not agree with the decisions or question the judgment. In addition, when mental health conditions are present, a conservatorship may need to be created.

How can you avoid the probate process?

To avoid probate in Tennessee, many people will create a revocable trust instead of a will. You still have control of your assets when in the trust, and the trust can pass the assets at your death to your beneficiaries like your will does, but without having to go through the process.

In addition, by creating a trust, you can avoid this private information being made public.

What assets don’t go through probate?

There are some assets that do not have to go through the process. They include:

  • Property held in joint tenancy
  • Property held in tenancy by the entirety
  • Payable-on-death bank accounts
  • Assets registered on the transfer-on-death form
  • Life insurance proceeds
  • Retirement accounts
  • Living trust assets

How long do you have to file for court?

You can file after 45 days of the deceased’s death when the estate is $50,000 or less. In Tennessee, the probate process can take six months to a year to complete. However, depending on the size of the estate, the process may take even longer. In addition, if unusual debts become subject to the estate, this can also increase the time it takes to complete.

Contact Martin Heller Potempa & Sheppard, PLLC for Help with Your Estate

If you need legal advice regarding the administration of a trust or a probate matter, Attorney Jennifer Sheppard and the conservatorships and litigation lawyers at Martin Heller Potempa & Sheppard, PLLC can assist. We have helped numerous individuals throughout Tennessee and we are ready to help you. To speak with one of our attorneys, contact us online or call (615) 800-7096.

We Can Help

If you need legal assistance regarding probate faqs matters, contact us online or call us at (615) 800-7096 today for a consultation with an experienced attorney.