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How Long is the Probate Process in Tennessee Without a Will?

Drafting a will can make the probate process simpler, but how long does probate last when there is no will in place?

No one wants to go through a long complicated process of probate, nor do they want their family members to go through it after they pass away. This is why so many people draft a will that clearly outlines what should happen to their estate when they die. Unfortunately, still too many people do die without a will, and that can make probate harder. The question so many people have is how long exactly is that process? The answer depends on a number of factors.

How Long is Probate Without a Will?

When a person dies without a will, their estate is subject to Tennessee’s intestate succession law. Getting an administrator set up for the estate can require more steps be taken, compared to the process when there is a Will. As with any estate, once the administrator is appointed, the debts of the estate will be paid and remaining assets will be distributed according to the state’s intestacy laws.

The probate process can last anywhere from four months to a year or more. The length of time depends on a few factors. For example, if the deceased individual had unique and complex assets, such as real estate property that they owned in another state, that can complicate the situation and cause probate to take longer.

Who can Recover When a Person Does Not Have a Will?

When a person passes away without a will, the state’s intestate succession laws will determine which relatives receive which assets. If the deceased has a spouse and children, they will inherit the estate. In these situations, the surviving spouse receives one-third of the estate, or a child’s share of the estate, whichever is greater. If the deceased did not have children, the spouse would inherit the entire estate. In cases in which the deceased did not have a spouse but had children, the children would inherit the estate in equal shares.

In cases in which the deceased did not have a spouse or children, the estate is distributed to closest relatives. There is an order of priority for determining who the closest relatives are. The law states that the estate should first be distributed to any surviving parents. If there are not any surviving parents, then the estate would be distributed to the deceased person’s siblings (or nieces and nephews if there is a deceased sibling). If there are no surviving siblings (or nieces and nephews if there is a deceased sibling), then the estate would go to grandparents, and there are rules for how that distribution would go.

Tennessee Probate Attorney Can Help

Dying without a will can cause probate to be more complicated, and worse, does not guarantee that your last wishes will be carried out. If you do not have a will, call me, a middle Tennessee will and probate lawyer, Judy A. Oxford, Attorney at Law. I can help you create a will that will be enforced by the court and will truly reflect your last wishes. When you are ready to start planning for tomorrow, call (615) 791-8511 or fill out the contract form online to schedule an initial consultation.