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Probate Court


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INFORMATION SHEET FOR DECEDENT'S ESTATES, FOR CONSERVATORS AND FOR GUARDIANSHIPS


I. INTRODUCTION

An estate must be opened in the Probate Court. This is accomplished by the filing of a petition with the Court. An Estate can be opened either with a Will, or without a Will. A Personal Representative is appointed.

Following your appointment as the personal representative, (Executor, Executrix, Administrator & Administratrix) the Court will direct the clerk of the Court to issue "Letters" which reflect this appointment and which will provide evidence to third parties of your authority to act on behalf of the estate.

II. NOTICE TO CREDITORS

A published or posted notice to creditors of your qualification as the personal representative will be processed by the Clerk of the Court.

In addition, it shall be your duty as the personal representative to mail or deliver by other means a copy of the published or posted notice to all creditors of the decedent of whom you have actual knowledge or who are reasonably ascertainable by you, at such creditors' last know addresses. Such notice shall not be required where a creditor has already filed a claim against the estate, has been paid or has issued a release of all claims against the estate.

You must file a separate affidavit or your petition to close the estate must contain language stating that you have complied with this requirement at the time you request the Court to close the estate.

III. INVENTORY

Within sixty days after entering on the administration of an estate, as the personal representative you are required to make a complete and accurate inventory of the probate estate of the deceased and file same with the Clerk of the Court. You must verify the inventory by your oath before the Clerk, a notary public or before any person authorized by law to administer oaths.

If this will of the deceased excuses the requirement for making and filing an inventory of the estate, or when excused by all of the residuary distributees or legatees, no inventory shall be required of a solvent estate, unless demanded by any residuary distributee or legatee of the estate.

IV. NOTICE TO BENEFICIARIES

Within sixty days after entering on the administration, as the personal representative you shall notify each legatee or devisee under the will that such person or entity is a beneficiary in the following manner. By first class mail or personal delivery as follows:

a) a complete copy of the will to those beneficiaries sharing in the residue of the estate;

b) a copy of the paragraph(s) of the will containing such bequests to those beneficiaries only receiving bequests;

c) a copy of the letters of administration to each residuary distributee of an interstate estate;

d) a complete copy of the will to a trustee, if the residue or a portion thereof is distributable to a trustee for the benefit of others. The trustee shall then have the obligation to send copies thereof to the trust beneficiaries.

Within the sixty day period, as the personal representative you are required to file with the Clerk of the Court, an affidavit that the required copies have been mailed or delivered to the beneficiaries or distributees and an explanation of efforts to identify and locate beneficiaries or distributees, if any, to whom copies have not yet been sent.

V. ACCOUNTS & SETTLEMENTS

Within fifteen months from the date of your qualification as the personal representative you are required to make an accounting with the Clerk of the Court. After the first accounting and until the estate is fully administered, you are required to make further accountings annually from the date of the first accounting. Such accountings shall state all receipts, disbursements and distributions of principal and income for the accounting period and the remaining assets held in the estate and shall be verified by your oath before the Clerk, a notary public or before any person authorized by law to administer oaths.

Detailed accountings of solvent estates may be waived if all of the distributees of the residue file with the Clerk of the Court waivers excusing the personal representative from filing all Court accountings.

THESE INSTRUCTIONS ARE NOT INTENDED TO ANSWER ALL OF YOU QUESTIONS TO ADMINISTERING AN ESTATE. IF YOU HAVE QUESTIONS, YOU SHOULD CONSULT PROMPTLY WITH THE ATTORNEY REPRESENTING THE ESTATE.

Similar procedures are utilized for Guardianships and Conservatorships. Please schedule an appointment to consult with the attorneys for more detailed information.

Call 901-757-5557 for a free appointment to discuss your situation.

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Phone: 901-757-5557
Cordova (Memphis), Tennessee

Talk to another attorney and talk to us.
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