Clients often ask me “Why do I need a power of attorney …. I am not sick, and I don’t want anyone to have that kind of control over me or my finances.”
What is Probate?
In Tennessee, probate is a process under state law by which a deceased person’s family (or beneficiaries) may present their loved one’s will to a local court to formally open an estate. The court then oversees the gathering of the estate’s assets, the payment of any claims against or debts of the estate, and the distribution of the estate’s assets to the deceased person’s relatives, or beneficiaries, named in the will.
All adults in Tennessee are legally considered to be competent and to have the ability (or capacity) to make their own decisions – about their finances and their own medical issues. However, sometimes an adult can suffer disability through a tragic injury, disease, or (in many cases) through the aging process and the deterioration of one’s mental abilities (i.e. Alzheimer’s or dementia type symptoms).
Who gets someone’s property when there is no will?
I have had several clients approach me about a loved one who has died without a will ….. clients with questions about who gets what property, how real estate is handled, and whether probate will be required to distribute the decedent’s estate.
You strongly suspect that your deceased family member’s will was obtained, by another family member or individual, through “dubious circumstances.” How should you proceed? What is the legal basis to challenge a probated will in Tennessee, and what is the process involved?
The financial exploitation of older Americans by their own families, friends, acquaintances, and salespeople is a serious problem in our country – particularly as the number of older citizens increase. It is estimated that more than 2/3 of elder abuse perpetrators are family members.