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The aftermath of a loved one’s death involves more than just grieving that loss. Tennessee families are generally still tasked with handling a person’s estate, which can be an overwhelming prospect, particularly when probate is involved. However, with careful planning, some individuals may choose to construct their estate plan in such a manner that it successfully circumvents probate altogether.

Probate is not an inherently bad process. Simply put, it is the process of distributing a person’s property under court supervision. This includes things like paying creditors, distributing inheritances to heirs and following other wishes as outlined in the will. To accomplish all of this, an estate must pass through several steps, including having the will authenticated.

Whether a person is concerned about the time-consuming nature of the process or the associated court fees, there are several options for avoiding probate. Revocable living trusts are quite a popular choice as they allow the grantor — or creator — to also act as the trustee. In this way, a person can actively manage the property in the trust, which will ultimately transferred to beneficiaries upon his or her death.

Joint tenancy is another option for keeping certain assets away from probate. In a joint tenancy situation, people share equally ownership of a given property. When one of the owner passes away, the right of survivorship kicks in and the other party automatically inherits the full property. This is a good option for platonic friends and non-married couples, while tenancy by the entirety accomplishes the same thing for married couples.

Navigating estate planning can be difficult. For every process there often seems to be an option to avoid it, and some people in Tennessee may feel confused about which way to proceed. Although frustrating, an experienced attorney can generally explain the best options for a person who is hoping to avoid probate.