Our office handles probate matters throughout Tennessee. We represent clients that have basic probate matters but also represent clients who are handling complex wrongful death cases.
These types of cases involve complex laws of the distribution of wrongful death proceeds, as well as the taxes and TN Care consequences of receiving wrongful death damages. We have earned the trust of many national law firms that ask us to represent their client’s through this difficult legal process.
Following is an explanation of commonly used words and phrases related to probate:
Administrator – The person who administers a decedent’s estate when there is no Last Will & Testament.
Administrator with Will Annexed – The person, other than an Executor, who administers a decedents estate when there is a Will (the Will fails to name an Executor of the named Executor cannot or will not serve.)
Attorney-in-Fact – An individual designated in a power of attorney to act as the agent of the person who executed the document.
Beneficiary – A person who receives funds, property, or other benefits from a will, contract, or insurance policy.
Decedent – The deceased person.
Estate – An individual’s property and assets, including real estate, bank accounts, life insurance policies, stocks, and personal property such as automobiles, guns, family heirlooms, etc.
Estate Tax – A tax that is imposed at a person’s death, on the transfers of some types of property from their estate to heirs and beneficiaries.
Executor – A person named in a Will who is authorized to manage the estate of the decedent. The executor will collect the property, pay off any debts, and distribute property and assets according to the terms of the Will.
Fiduciary – A person or institution that is legally responsible for the management, investment, and distribution of funds, i.e. the trustee identified in a trust.
Heirs – Those persons who would inherit the estate of a decedent if there were no will under the rules of the descent and distribution. “Heir” does not mean the same thing as beneficiary, although an heir may also be a beneficiary. The heirs are to be determined by the statutes in the Tennessee Code.
Intestate – Without a Last Will & Testament.
Letters Testamentary/Letters of Administration – The official document issued by the Probate Court evidencing the authority of an executor or an administrator.
Personal Representative – Any executor, administrator, guardian or trustee.
Probate – The court procedure by which a Will is proved to be the valid Last Will & Testament of a decedent; also used generically to refer to the legal process of administering a decedent’s estate.
Probate Court – The Court having jurisdiction over proceedings to administer the estate of a decedent; also has other jurisdiction such as for conservatorships and guardianships. These courts could be a part of the Chancery court, the Juvenile court or a separate division of the Circuit Court system depending upon the particular Tennessee County.
Proceeding Pro Se – Representing yourself in court without an attorney.
Testator – A person who has made a Will.
Trust – A written document providing that property be held by one (the trustee) for the benefit of another (the beneficiary). A trust may be created during the grantor’s lifetime or after his or her death.
Trustee – People named in a trust document who will manage property owned by the trust, and distribute the trust income or property according to the terms of the trust document. A trustee may be an individual or a business.
Will – A document, signed with the formalities required by the laws of Tennessee, by which a person makes disposition of his property, to take effect after his death. Also known as a Last Will and Testament.
Spencer Law Firm, PLC
28 South Washington Avenue
Brownsville, Tennessee 38012
Phone: (731) 772-3322
Toll Free: (800) 597-1586
Fax: (731) 772-4734
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