If you have an upcoming matter in Knoxville probate court, you are likely very apprehensive, and rightfully so. Probate court is often shrouded in mystery because most people have never had a reason to be there in the first place.
Understanding what to expect and having the help of an experienced probate attorney can help to ease some of the stress. Your first step is to hire an experienced probate lawyer to ensure your interests are protected.
What Is Probate Court?
“Probate” is a term used to describe the dissolution of a person’s property after they have passed. The court has one primary objective: to ensure that the deceased’s money and goods are distributed and all debts are satisfied.
The judge in probate court ensures that the laws are followed and that the intestate succession is followed. If you’ve never heard of it before, the intestate succession lays out the priority of the heirs. For example, spouses and children take priority over siblings and parents.
2 Different Types of Probate
There are two different probate scenarios: one is without a will and one is with a will. Probate without a will requires that the judge sets up the intestate succession. Probate with a will requires that the judge validates the will and that the will is carried out as is. About 55% of adults do not have a will in place but talking to a lawyer can help you get this done sooner than later.
In both cases, it is important that you have a probate attorney on your side when you walk into probate court. An attorney will provide you with advice for carrying out the distribution of property and debts as needed under the law.
The process begins with a petition to the court. If there is a will, part of the filing will include a copy of the will. Typically, an attorney will initiate the proceedings on behalf of one of the decedent’s heirs. The court will appoint a personal representative (executor or executrix) to oversee the distribution of the estate.
An inventory of the decedent’s property will have to be conducted and presented to the court. Debtors will be granted time to file claims against the estate. The entire process from start to finish can take anywhere from six months to two years depending on the size of the estate.
A probate attorney can help you to navigate the process. Having the right support can take the stress out of the process and help to move it along. If you have to navigate the ins and outs of probate court, rely on Samuel Tipton Law for help.