As an estate settlement attorney Knoxville, TN families turn to will share, amidst the grief of losing a loved one, several business elements will need to be taken care of to ensure the decedent’s estate is properly settled. Typically this process is left up to the party who has been appointed as the estate executor, often a trusted friend or close family member. In the absence of a will or estate plan, the process for determining who will be responsible for taking the lead will fall to probate court. Working with a firm like Carpenter and Lewis PLLC can play an integral role throughout the process as they can assist in helping the executor to understand the probate process and the appropriate steps to take towards settling a person’s estate after they have passed away.
Probate is the legal process where the court validates a will after a person passes away. When there is a will, an executor or estate administrator is named and officially appointed in probate court. The estate executor is charged with carrying out the decedent’s final wishes by settling debts, selling property and assets (if necessary), and distributing wishes to beneficiaries. When there is no will, the court will appoint an executor. Typically this is a family member, but in the absence of this, a court-appointed executor may be necessary. Probate is often feared by many and is often an aspect of settling an estate that many people try to avoid. This is usually because, without proper planning, the probate process can become costly, litigious, and public. As a Knoxville estate settlement attorney will share, there can be several steps to the probate process, and help from an experienced professional is highly beneficial.
For an estate executor, some steps should be taken before probate and during the process. However, the complexity of probate and the assets that must pass through will largely depend upon whether the decedent developed an estate plan that reduced the number of assets that needed to be passed through probate. Estate executors should take the following steps when managing an estate after a decedent has passed:
Settling a person’s estate can be highly complex and even more challenging when grieving the loss of a loved one. Estate administrators carry a great duty; their role is to carry out the decedent’s wishes as outlined. Unfortunately, the process can be highly stressful, and a Knoxville estate settlement attorney from Carpenter and Lewis PLLC can help to clarify the process and settle the estate with ease.
When someone you care about passes away, you may be the one that has the duty to handle their affairs, and could probably use support from a Knoxville, TN estate settlement attorney. There is likely to be more than enough to do, such as making funeral arrangements, and notifying other loved ones, in addition to legal matters including reporting information, gathering records, and more. Knowing what to do when settling someone’s estate and getting support from a lawyer can make all the difference during a difficult time.
The executor of an estate may be someone like the decedent’s spouse, children, advisor, financial institution, or someone else. If you were appointed as executor, then you may benefit from getting guidance from a legal team to make sure you are taking all the steps you need to and are exhibiting due diligence. It’s important to have a clear idea of closing someone’s estate and remaining continually involved in this process. Estate settlement comes along with a list of responsibilities, from filing taxes to communicating with beneficiaries, appraising or selling assets, and so much more.
During the first few months after the person has passed away, an executor has to review the will and gather other necessary documentation. Review the will, trust documents, and other estate plan paperwork so that you have full knowledge of the instructions and conditions. Funeral expenses and other debts can be paid from the estate. You may need to collect the death certificate, birth certificate, life insurance policy, marriage certificate, and real estate titles, among others. Gather financial records including retirement accounts, brokerage, and bank statements for the past few years, and handle any claims that are submitted by creditors. If you need help deciding which creditor claims are valid and which should not be paid, you can get the answers you need from a Knoxville estate settlement attorney.
In most states, an executor has to submit the will to probate court, even if assets are held within a trust and do not have to go through a formal probate proceeding. If needed, the court will schedule a hearing to assess will validity and appoint an executor officially. All parties interested in the hearing have to be notified of when and where to show up. Property such as art collections, vehicles, property, boats, furniture, antiques, jewelry, personal documents, photographs, and clothing have to be safeguarded by the executor. To protect these items, keep them where they are safe until distributed to the beneficiary as instructed in the will.
In the last months of handling the closing of someone’s estate, you will need to make final contributions, such as paying remaining expenses, securing closing letters from the IRS, distributing reserves that were pending, preparing and submitting the last accounting, transferring final distributions, and file a petition to be discharged of your executor duties. As you can imagine, settling an estate can be a complex process, especially if you are in the midst of grief yourself. Consider reaching out to a Knoxville estate settlement attorney from Carpenter & Lewis PLLC if you need support, or have questions and concerns that must be addressed. We are just a phone call or email away.
For a consultation with one of the probate attorneys at Carpenter & Lewis, please call (865) 690-4997 or you may prefer to send an e-mail to: [email protected] Consultations are by appointment only.
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10413 Kingston Pike, Suite 200
Knoxville, Tennessee 37922
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