ESTATE ADMINISTRATION (PROBATE)
When a person dies, his/her debts and taxes must be paid, and his/her property must be given to the persons who are entitled by law to receive it. The process by which these things are done is called estate administration. If the deceased person left a Will or a Trust, the deceased person’s property will be given to the persons whom the document designates to receive it. If the deceased person did not leave a Will or a Trust, the deceased person’s property will pass to those persons designated by state law to receive it.
Before an estate can be administered, the deceased person’s Will must be admitted to probate, if he/she left a Will. A person or business, such as a bank or trust company, must be appointed to administer the estate. If the deceased person left a Will, the person or business will almost always be named in the Will. If the deceased person did not leave a Will, the Probate Court will appoint a person or business to administer the estate. Usually the person who is appointed will be a relative of the deceased person, such as the surviving spouse or a child who is an adult.
If a deceased person left his/her estate in a Trust, the person or business named as Trustee will administer the Trust. A Trust is almost always administered without proceedings in the Probate Court.
Estate and trust administrations can be relatively simple or very complicated. The most common reason an estate or trust administration becomes complicated is quarrels among the beneficiaries. This can be avoided with good estate planning.
As an estate planning attorney with extensive experience in estate and trust administrations, I have presented continuing education classes about estate administration to other East Tennessee attorneys.
If you need assistance in administering the estate or trust of a deceased person, or if you have concerns about an estate or trust from which you expect to benefit, Mr. Crane will be pleased to consult with you.
Call 865-539-8282 to schedule an appointment.