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Non-Probate Assets in Tennessee

Posted on Oct 12 2017 11:57AM by Attorney, Jason A. Lee

There is often confusion on what type of assets are not considered probate assets in Tennessee.  These types of assets do not require formal estate administration, most of the time.  When you are responsible for handling an estate or are appointed as an executor, you need to determine what assets are required to be brought through the Tennessee probate process and what assets are not required to be brought into Probate.  Planning ahead on this issue is also important for individuals so they can have a streamlined post death estate administration process. 

 

Non-Probate assets in Tennessee include the following:

 

1.          401k plan, IRA plan or other type of retirement plan that has the designation of a specific beneficiary (except where the beneficiary is the person’s estate).

 

2.          Bank accounts, real estate, automobiles or other assets that are titled in the name of the deceased individual and another individual as joint tenants or tenants by the entirety with right of survivorship.  These assets pass immediately upon death to the other individual because they are jointly owned.

 

3.          Assets that are titled in the decedent's name with a "transfer on death" or "pay on death" designation to a specific beneficiary.  This is often done for bank accounts in one person’s name so the money is immediately transferred at the time of death.

 

4.          Life insurance policies that have a specific beneficiary designated other than the estate of the deceased individual.

 

This determination should be made soon after a person dies by the individuals responsible to handle their estate.  This will allow that responsible person to know whether a Will needs to be probated under Tennessee law.  An experienced Tennessee probate attorney should be consulted to determine how to make this decision after an individual dies.  Additionally, some of these decisions can be made before death in order to reduce or eliminate what assets pass through the probate process.  It can be very valuable to spend some money while living on estate planning in order to greatly reduce the cost and complications of handling the estate after you die.  Simplicity is almost always best.

 

Follow me on Twitter at @jasonalee for updates from the Tennessee Wills and Estates blog.

TAGS: Executor/Executrix, Probate Assets, Tennessee Probate Law
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Jason A. Lee is a Member of Burrow Lee, PLLC. Contact Jason at 615-540-1004 or jlee@burrowlee.com for an initial consultation on wills estate planning and probate issues.

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Tennessee Wills and Estates Blog
Jason A. Lee, Member of Burrow Lee, PLLC
611 Commerce Street, Suite 2603
Nashville, TN 37203
Phone: 615-540-1004
E-mail: jlee@burrowlee.com

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