Small Estate Administration

Many people are looking for a way to avoid probate. Probate is the court process which oversees the distribution of assets to beneficiaries and pays off any creditors when a person has died. Probate has become almost an intimidating prospect to many. Whether it is due to its lengthy and seemingly complicated process or potentially high attorney’s fees, people are seeking for any other way to transfer assets from a person’s estate to his or her heirs. Small estate administration is another option for those in Tennessee looking to transfer the assets of an estate of a more modest size. If you want to know if small estate administration is an option for you, be sure to contact The Higgins Firm.

What Are the Benefits of Small Estate Administration?

Small estate administration has a number of benefits over a fully probated estate. First, small estate administration is a much simpler process than probate. The process is not as complicated and the court does not require as much for these types of estates. In addition, the cost is much less for a small estate administration than a fully probated estate. Often with other lawyers, attorney’s fees and costs can rack up for a fully probated estate as the case goes on. However, when you conduct a small estate administration with the help of The Higgins Firm, you know exactly how much you are paying with an affordable flat fee.

Is Small Estate Administration an Option for You?

Tennessee law has set forth The Small Estates Act which provides when a small estate is available. Under the Small Estates Act, there a number of qualifications that must be met. The main qualification is that the value of the decedent’s property must not exceed $50,000. Further, the Act provides that “property” must be comprised of personal property individually held by the decedent on the date of death. Personal property is considered to be any moveable goods. It is important to note that personal property does not include any real property, otherwise known as real estate. Also, any property that is held jointly with right of survivorship cannot be included as property in determining the total value of a small estate. These factors can sometimes restrict a person’s ability to utilize small estate administration.

Small Estate Procedure

The small estate procedure begins with the filing of an affidavit with the court typically 45 days following the decedent’s date of death. Usually the affiant, the individual completing the affidavit, is a person nominated in the will or any other competent adult heir if there is not a will. The affidavit includes information including: 1) whether the decedent had a will or not; 2) a list of any unpaid debts; 3) a list of the property; 4) the names of anyone currently possessing the property; 5) a list of anyone entitled to receive any property; 6) whether notice will be given to creditors; and 7) an oath by the affiant.

Upon filing and inspection of the affidavit, the clerk will issue certified copies of the affidavit to the affiant. At that point, anyone possessing property of the decedent is to transfer possession to the affiant for distribution. The affiant is responsible for paying off any debts and then distributing the remaining assets accordingly. Upon a full distribution, the court may then discharge the affiant’s duties.

Contact The Higgins Firm

If you need help with a small estate administration, contact the Tennessee small estate lawyers at The Higgins Firm. Our Nashville based attorneys would be happy to help you with a small estate administration.