Trusted Chattanooga Probate Lawyers Helping Families Fulfill Their Loved One’s Wishes
Helping families through the Tennessee probate system
After a loved one dies or becomes permanently incapacitated, the last thing anyone wants to do is to attempt to sort through debts, property and assets. The probate system provides a structure for this process, allowing families and friends to focus on their emotional health, while a Chattanooga probate lawyer sorts through any wills, assets or debts remaining. The best lawyers offer a mix of compassion, impartiality and business acumen to help carry out the wishes of the decedent in the fairest way possible.
Wagner & Wagner Attorneys at Law is among the oldest and most respected law firms in Chattanooga. For over seven decades, we have earned the trust and loyalty of our clients through hard work, honesty and diligence. We know Tennessee and federal law, we have the experience working with the courts and we value our clients.
Managing and distributing assets through the legal system
We have all seen the soap opera plots revolving around hidden wills, fake wills, disputes and conflicts. Reality is rarely quite so dramatic, but it is helpful to have an impartial third party, such as an estate or probate executor, on hand to assist. Estate attorneys generally assist with drafting wills and trusts, while probate attorneys primarily function after someone has passed away; sometimes they are one and the same, helping before and after a death.
The role of a probate attorney is multifarious. A well-crafted will should include not only property allocation but also name an executor, who then brings the will to the county courthouse. In cases where a will is not present, the court will appoint an executor for the estate. In either case, the probate process properly begins when the executor notifies any heirs and beneficiaries of the will or estate. Notice will also be published in the newspaper to attempt to contact any unknown creditors or debtors of the proceedings. Next, the executor will take inventory of all personal property, including businesses owned, stocks, bonds, real estate and other financial accounts. Before any inheritance will be paid out, all creditors and costs surrounding final medical care and funeral arrangements will be paid. Finally, property and benefits will be assigned as per the will to family, friends and loved ones.
Various complications that can arise during the probate process include:
- Executors who are not impartial or who do not wish to take on the role
- Difficulties in locating various assets or agreeing on their values
- Doubts about the validity of the will
- Contested wills
In each of these scenarios, it is the role of your attorney to sort through the claims and make sure that the rightful person’s claim is honored. Some types of property are not required to go through probate, such as property held in trust, jointly held but not common property, insurance death benefits and retirements accounts that have a named beneficiary.
Contact experienced and knowledgeable probate attorneys today
At Wagner & Wagner Attorneys at Law, our goal is to use our years of knowledge and experience to benefit our clients and their families. We are interested in helping real people solve real problems, rather than creating them. If you or a family member has questions about or issues navigating the probate system or want help in writing a will, speak with an experienced probate lawyer at 423-756-7923 or complete our contact form. We also offer effective legal services to clients in Chattanooga, Cleveland, TN and all surrounding counties. Your first consultation is free, and one conversation is often all that’s necessary to determine whether we can help you with your case.