Carpenter & Lewis PLLC is a firm that wants to bring their clients the best we have to offer, so that their needs are met. We don’t try to split our focus from estate planning and transactional law, that way you know we’re focused on you and your needs.
We focus on:
Settling probate estates.
Settling probate trusts.
Forming LLCs or other entities.
Small business law.
An Overview of Probate Law in Tennessee
Probate is a court supervised process that can be required after someone dies. Probate gives somebody, typically the closest surviving family member, legal authority to gather the decedent’s assets, pay their debts and taxes, and transfer those assets to the people that were identified to inherit from the estate of the decedent according to the will or a court order, if there was no will.
Probate can take six months to a year, though this can go on longer if there is a fight involving the beneficiaries of the will. This is rare, but it can happen. Having a good probate lawyer in Knoxville, TN that is focused on the probate process itself can help you better understand why such fights may occur.
Not every asset needs to go through probate, just assets that the deceased person owned in their own name need to go through probate. Other assets pass to the new owners without oversight from the probate court. Assets going through probate court are called part of the “probate estate”.
Some common examples of assets that aren’t part of the probate estate:
Property that is held in joint tenancy, such as a bank account, a home, or a car. It does not go through probate as it has a second owner, and the surviving owner retains the property outright.
Property held in tenancy by the entirety, which means the person owned the real estate with their spouse, they’ll avoid probate court because ownership goes to the surviving spouse.
Payable-on-death bank accounts, or POD, is a bank account that goes directly to the beneficiary of the account when the account holder dies.
Assets that are registered in a transfer-on-death form, this is a form that Tennessee residents can feel out and anything registered on this form are transferred directly to the beneficiary identified on the form without probate.
Life insurance proceeds from life insurance policies specify a beneficiary, so they do not require a probate court.
Retirement funds do not go through probate because the account holder has designated a beneficiary of those proceeds.
Living trust assets are held in the name of a living trustee, so they do not go through probate.
Talk to your probate lawyer in Knoxville, TN today if you have questions about what goes through probate court. Carpenter & Lewis PLLC has four lawyers, with varying educations and memberships. You can find a probate lawyer in Knoxville, TN that you like that suits you and your case. Every lawyer has a different background, and you might connect with a specific lawyer in the firm because of their background, and that is okay.