Probate & Trust Administration

Estate Planning Attorneys Advising Residents of Nashville

Careful planning and preparation are essential to ensuring your property will be distributed according to your wishes. The estate planning lawyers at Martin Heller Potempa & Sheppard are skilled at executing the documents needed by individuals near Nashville or elsewhere in Tennessee. Our legal team is also experienced in providing assistance in the administration of your trust plan. We serve personal representatives, trustees, and executors during the process of probate and trust administration. Our lawyers represent clients throughout Davidson County, including in Antioch, Heritage, Madison, and Bellevue.

Managing a Trust

A trustee is either a person or an institution that holds the position of carrying out a trust’s purposes. Under Tennessee law, a trustee is charged with the very high duty of always acting in good faith and with prudence in regard to the trust. In doing so, a trustee must place the interests of the trust’s beneficiaries above all others.

There are some common scenarios under which a trustee may need legal counsel. At times, a trust’s terms may conflict with themselves. In these cases, a trustee may need to file a petition to modify or terminate the trust. In other circumstances, a trustee may need to enter into a transaction or sale of trust property. In these cases, it is important to avoid any conflict of interest that could arise between the trustee’s personal interests and those of the beneficiaries. It may be necessary to get court approval or beneficiary consent before entering into such transactions.

There are other administrative actions that must be taken with regard to trusts. Tennessee laws require that adequate records must be kept and that trust property must be kept separate. Moreover, costs related to maintaining and administering the trust must be reasonable. Legal professionals can advise on whether these requirements are being met.

Probate Administration

It is common belief that a properly executed will and testament ensures the proper distribution of an estate when a testator dies. However, there may be additional considerations during the administration of probate, which is the legal process that occurs after a death. Some of the common tasks involved in probate administration include proving the validity of the will, identifying property, notifying creditors, and dividing and distributing assets.

One of the first steps in probate administration in Tennessee is for the executor of a will to obtain “letters of administration,” which give that individual the authority to administer assets under the estate. In addition, there are certain family and homestead allowances that take place at the initiation of probate. State laws give a surviving spouse or children specific property rights.

Aside from those allowances, the executor, or personal representative, must make certain reports to the probate court within a specific timeframe. The executor must inventory and file a report of all of the assets that must be probated, within 60 days of being appointed. The executor must also notify all beneficiaries who are entitled to inherit estate assets. At that point, any liens, taxes, or debts must be paid from the estate assets. After all these steps are taken, the estate assets may be disbursed to the beneficiaries of the will.

Consult a Knowledgeable Franklin Lawyer to Protect Your Family’s Future

If you or someone you know needs legal advice regarding the administration of a trust or a probate matter, the wills and trusts attorneys at Martin Heller Potempa & Sheppard can assist. We have helped numerous individuals in Franklin and the surrounding communities. Our sensitive legal team stays updated on the latest developments and will work meticulously to pursue your goals. To speak with one of our attorneys, contact us online or call (615) 800-7096.