Maryville Probate Attorneys
Experienced estate planning attorneys representing families in the probate process
The probate process is mandatory in Tennessee, which means there is no way whatsoever to avoid it. It can be long and tedious. It can be stressful. This is why you need an experienced Maryville estate planning attorney by your side to help you get from Point A to Point B.
The Maryville probate attorneys at Shepherd & Long, P.C. have decades of experience helping clients create estate plans and dealing with the probate process. If you have questions, we’ll have answers. Contact us today to learn more.
What is probate?
Probate is the process of a last will and testament being presented to the Probate Court in order for the court to determine if it is valid or not. The court will then ensure that the valid debts of the estate are paid off and the remaining assets are distributed according to the instructions outlined in the will. In simpler terms, to probate a will means to determine its validity and carry out the directives in it.
What are the steps of the probate process if a will is present?
The common steps of the probate process when a will is present in Tennessee are as follows:
- A petition to probate the will is filed with the Probate Court.
- A notice is sent to all heirs that a petition was filed.
- A notice of hearing is filed. All heirs are permitted to attend. This hearing is open to the public.
- The Probate Court is presented with the Last Will & Testament.
- The executor is charged with handling the payments of debts and the distribution of assets according to the directives in the will.
- A notice to creditors is published for three months in newspapers so they can make a claim against the estate.
- The probate process ends when all valid legal debts are paid, and the assets are distributed correctly.
Why are wills contested?
When named beneficiaries – or, more likely, the people who think they SHOULD have been named beneficiaries – take issue with the will, they can contest it. A will contestation increases the length of the probate process, often significantly. The more common causes of will contestation include:
- Family members believing that the decedent was unduly influenced by a beneficiary
- It was discovered that the decedent was not of sound mind when he or she signed the will
- The signing of the will was not legally witnessed
- The decedent did not sign the will
- The decedent did not name certain children as beneficiaries
- There is no clear business succession plan (if applicable)
- The will stands in direct contrast to a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement
In some cases, a will contest can lead to the invalidation of the will, so it is important to seek legal counsel when creating your estate plan.
What happens if there’s no will?
Probate becomes a lot more complicated when the deceased hasn’t left a will. In this case, the Probate Court names an administrator to handle the debts and assets, but certain complications can arise if family members disagree with any part of the probate process. There can also be delays if there are disagreements about the value of the assets, or if certain assets cannot be located.
How does a Maryville probate lawyer help me?
A Maryville probate lawyer from Shepherd & Long P.C. makes it easier for you when dealing with end-of-life issues and discussions. We can assist you with any of the following tasks related to estate planning:
- Evaluate, take inventory of, and collect assets
- File a will with the court
- File tax returns
- Appeal a ruling
- File a petition for probate
- Sell assets
- Manage disputes
- Settle debts
- Distribute assets
- Notify beneficiaries
Schedule a consultation with a Maryville estate planning attorney
It is difficult to think about the end of life. No one wants to broach this topic willingly. However, it is important that you plan for the future, especially when you have children. Putting your wishes in writing makes it easier for everyone involved after your death. The compassionate team at Shepherd & Long P.C. has decades of experience assisting clients create their last will and testament, representing families in Probate Court, and distributing assets based on directives. We will work to protect your final wishes, so your heirs receive the assets you set aside for them. Call our office at call 865-982-8060 or fill out our contact form to schedule a low cost consultation.