How to probate an intestate estate in Tennessee
Usually, when a person dies with a will, an estate executor is named who manages the probate process.
However, the process is slightly different if the deceased has died intestate. Instead of an estate executor, an interested party (usually a child or spouse) asks the court in the district where the deceased died to name them as the estate administrator. The court then issues them with "Letters of Administration."
Once the Letters of Administration have been issued, the administrator can act the same way any estate executor would. They typically open a checking account in the estate's name, place any funds from the estate into it and use the account to pay for any estate expenses. However, before they can open the account, they must obtain a taxpayer identification number from the IRS.
The estate administrator must then notify any creditors of which they are aware. The county clerk will also usually place a notice in the local press to inform any creditors, who then have four to 12 months to press their claim. The administrator is then required to settle any debts when creditors come forward.
In the first 60 days after receiving the Letters of Administration, the administrator is required to submit an inventory of assets to the court and notify any heirs under the terms of Tennessee's intestacy laws. When debts and taxes are paid, the administrator pays out any remaining assets to those entitled, and the probate process is complete.