Estate Attorney Ryan Simmons Discusses the Basics of Tennesee Probate

Male: This is the Talk of the Town Extra.

Tuwanda Coleman: I’m Tuwanda Coleman. Dealing with legal issues when a love on passes away can make a difficult time for everyone and make it even harder. Attorney Ryan Simmons is here to help us understand what we need to know. Hi, Ryan.

Ryan Simmons: Hi.

Tuwanda Coleman: We know that when someone passes that most of the time their estate has to be probated. What does that mean and how do you start it?

Ryan Simmons: Yes, that’s a good question. Probate can mean several different things. Oftentimes, it goes (through first to a will) being validated. You can go through and probate a will. But, most commonly or first to the court that handles the administration of assets after someone has passed away.

Tuwanda Coleman: So, do all estate need to be probated and all assets go through the court?

Ryan Simmons: So, not every asset needs to go through and be probated. Oftentimes, they are known as probate assets and non-probate assets. And, so there’s a little bit of distinction there. Probate assets are any assets that were solely owned by the person who’s passed away and didn’t have any type of beneficiary designation on there.

If there are any type of beneficiary designations were an account was co-owned, that would necessarily have to go through and be probated. So, for example, you may have a bank account that was solely owned by a person and there was not any type of beneficiary designation on there. The court would have to go through and oversee that to go through and determine where that asset should go, whether it’s according to the will or the laws (and then test to see).

Tuwanda Coleman: So, if someone is unsure, when should they contact you?

Ryan Simmons: Yes, definitely, a lot of people will contact us just if they have general questions. I’m able to go through and answer those questions. More particularly, if they do have some sort of asset and needs to be transferred by the probate court, in that case, I can jump in and help out during the administration of it, bring it before the court, and then allow the court to go through and oversee that process.

Tuwanda Coleman: That is a really good information to know. Thank you so much for being here.

Ryan Simmons: Thank you.

Tuwanda Coleman: For more information about The Higgins Firm, visit their website at or contact them at the number you see on the screen.