Probate FAQs | Estate Planning | Tressler & Associates
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probate faqs

Probate FAQs

Understanding what happens next after a loved one passes away isn’t easy, even when it is a situation you’ve gone through before. Your loved ones may have left behind many assets that might have you wondering whether or not they’ll need to go through probate. Dealing with these assets, your loved one’s debts, and their beneficiaries can feel overwhelming. The probate process can be extremely confusing for many people, and you simply want your loved one’s assets to be taken care of. At Tressler & Associates, we know that understanding the probate process can be complicated. Here are some of the most common probate FAQs.

What is Probate?

Probate is the process of reviewing a person’s will before the deceased’s assets can be distributed. This process helps to ensure that a will is valid, assesses the assets the deceased had, ensures their debts are paid, and distributes assets to the beneficiaries. When the deceased didn’t leave behind a will, Tennesse’s intestacy laws determine how their assets will be distributed.

The following types of assets go through probate:

  • Solely owned property
  • Tenants in common property
  • Non-titled property

However, not all of an individual’s assets go through the probate process. Some of the assets that do not require probate include the following:

  • Assets in a living trust
  • Jointly owned assets
  • Life insurance policies
  • Retirement accounts
  • Payable-on-death assets
  • Transfer-on-death assets

How Long Does the Probate Process Take?

Probate is known for being a lengthy process and it can vary depending on the circumstances. Often, the probate process can take anywhere from six months to one year. Larger and more complex estates can also take more time to go through probate. While the probate process can be lengthy, a clear, well-created will can help make it run smoothly.

Can Probate Be Avoided?

Some people wish to avoid the probate process due to the amount of time that it can take, preventing their beneficiaries from receiving their inheritances, and the fees associated with it. Proper estate planning can help your loved ones avoid having to go through a lengthy process before receiving their inheritances. A common way of avoiding assets from going through the probate process is by placing assets in a living trust. For some, probate may be able to be skipped entirely. An estate planning lawyer can help you create plans that will keep your assets from going through this process.

Can a Will or Trust Be Contested?

Even with a will or trust, there may be issues regarding their validity. Just because someone took the time to create these documents, doesn’t mean they’re reliable and reflect their true wishes. For example, you might suspect your loved one was a victim of undue influence or lacked the testamentary capacity needed to make a valid estate document. If you believe a loved one’s will or trust is invalid, you may be able to contest it to prevent it from being carried out. This can be a complicated process, but an experienced probate litigation attorney can help you through it.

Get Help with Probate from an Experienced Estate Planning Attorney

If you have questions regarding the probate process or a loved one’s estate, Tressler & Associates can help. We can be there to answer any of your questions and help you through this sometimes complicated and often lengthy process. If you’d like to learn more about what you can do to prepare your own estate so that your loved ones can avoid the probate process, we can also assist with the estate planning process.

Don’t hesitate to contact us for help regarding probate.

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