I am the sole beneficiary of an uncle who passed away on July 15, 2008. He was 98 years old. Consideration has been given to opening a small estate. He has only a bank account of 4,000+, little furniture, and a mobility scooter (a $3,300 item he had purchased, yet he owes about $1,800 on it). I am concerned about how to hand this. His funeral bill of $5,400+ needs to be paid. Should I submit the small estate form or is there another suitable way to handle this? Ideas please. His wife had alread passed away March 1999 (another case). They never had any children. He owns one vacant lot worth about $1,200 (tax appraisal card). He lived in Tennessee. His estate is not more than $25,000.00.
I have viewed the small estate form available.
I have checked to see what he owns.
I would open the small estate if the figures you gave are correct - the estate has a positive balance. A small estate is very easy to handle and won't take to long.
Tenn. Code Ann. § 30-4-102
Tennessee's small estate law makes it simpler and less expensive for heirs to obtain the property of the deceased person without full probate proceedings.
The law applies whether the deceased person left a will or not, but there are certain conditions.
Q. What is the dollar limit for a small estate?
"Estate" means the belongings of a deceased person. Under Tennessee law, "small estate" means that the value of the personal property of the estate is $25,000
"Personal property" basically includes all belongings other than real estate or land. It includes insurance on the deceased person's life that is payable to the estate. It does not include insurance payable to beneficiaries other than the estate. It also does not include personal property held jointly with right of survivorship, such as many joint bank accounts.
Q. Is it necessary to hire a lawyer?
No. Each county probate court clerk (often the Chancery Court Clerk & Master) has a free form that can be used. The form is a fill-in-the-blank affidavit. The person who files it must sign before a notary and confirm that it is true and correct.
Q. What is the process for starting a small estate?
The Heir or next of kin usually waits 45 days (or less, if allowed by the court). The small estate procedure may be used when:
(A) No other person has filed a petition to probate the will or administer the estate if there is no will, and
(B) The estate of the decedent is a small estate ($25,000 or less).
A filing fee is paid to the probate court in the county where the deceased person legally resided.
An affidavit is filed to show:
(A) Whether there is a will (if so, it must be attached);
(B) A list of the unpaid debts which shows amounts and creditors;
(C) An itemized description of the property;
(D) A list of the persons having possession of any of the property;
(E) All insurance payable to the estate;
(F) A list of the persons entitled to receive any of the property; and
(G) Whether the person signing the affidavit will give notice to creditors through newspaper publication.
I have the will and I am listed as the sole beneficiary and to be the executor of the estate . The information you submitted is on a form I got from the county probate
office. I still feel I need help from a source - a more informed and experienced
source in completing the form than I am. Too, the impact of what to expect. I do not
expect to gain from this estate. I understand that administering this estate is a need.
The funeral bill has to be paid. So much goes on in completing this type of information.
A view of what I have to put on the form and the impact of what to expect is a
question. I know the filing fee is $300.00+. More help I feel is needed. I wish I
could contact someone, submit the form and the information to someone, and have someone complete the form.
You can contact a local attorney but it's very simple to complete and adminster the small estate. The legislature specifically mandated small estates to help people in your situation.
Have you tried legal aid or anything?
To qualify for Legal aid, help is based on how much one makes I was told. Further,
information in reference to local attorney help has indicated that the small estate form is simple to do just as you have stated. However, my thoughts were based on the estate of the wife of the deceased has been open for going on 11 years - (unusual). He had a life estate in the house she owned. Anyway, I will keep in mind to complete the small estate form.
Stephanie Joy answered Quesion 1 April 21, 2009 that I submitted. Her services
are again requested.
Any additional details. I will wait just a while longer to see if any additional details
are available on what to expect.
What if the estate does not have enough assets to pay all creditors?
I was waiting for more information on this, if it is appropriate to do so.
I have not paid you, I intend to do so.
DISCLAIMER: Answers from Experts on JustAnswer are not substitutes for the advice of an attorney. JustAnswer is a public forum and questions and responses are not private or confidential or protected by the attorney-client privilege. The Expert above is not your attorney, and the response above is not legal advice. You should not read this response to propose specific action or address specific circumstances, but only to give you a sense of general principles of law that might affect the situation you describe. Application of these general principles to particular circumstances must be done by a lawyer who has spoken with you in confidence, learned all relevant information, and explored various options. Before acting on these general principles, you should hire a lawyer licensed to practice law in the jurisdiction to which your question pertains.
The responses above are from individual Experts, not JustAnswer. The site and services are provided “as is”. To view the verified credential of an Expert, click on the “Verified” symbol in the Expert’s profile. This site is not for emergency questions which should be directed immediately by telephone or in-person to qualified professionals. Please carefully read the Terms of Service (last updated February 8, 2012).