When people pass away in Tennessee, they cannot take anything with them. Their possessions, money and assets remain and will eventually be distributed to certain beneficiaries. The beneficiaries will be determined either by the deceased’s will or by the intestate succession laws of the state if they die without a will. The process for doing this is known as probate, which is how the court oversees the administration of the estate.
The court does not actually administer the estate though. The person or people in charge of actually distributing assets and paying debts is known as the personal representative. This is an individual who is named in the Will. Many times it is a person, who is a trusted family member or friend. However, people could also name other professionals who may be more experienced to oversee the administration of the estate. When family members begin this process it can seem daunting, but there are steps that they can take soon after the death to start the process.
Steps personal representatives can take
In order to gain the authority to actually distribute the deceased’s assets, the personal representative will need to start probate and receive the Letters Testamentary from the court. However, while they are waiting to receive that document, they can start determining the size of the estate. They can start taking inventory of bank accounts the deceased may have in their possession. Also, try to determine what outstanding loans or credit cards they may owe on as well. They can also search for any real property that the deceased owns. People will also want to search for whether the deceased was in a nursing home and had any governmental assistance.
Being a personal representative in Tennessee is an important job that comes with a large amount of responsibility. They need to gather all the deceased’s assets, determine which debts they have and pay those debts, distribute the assets to the appropriate beneficiaries and close the estate with the courts through the probate process. It can be a very complicated process and consulting with an experienced attorney could be beneficial.