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How soon after a descendant has passed away intestate can a beneficiary ask the administer for an accounting in the state of Tennessee?

This legal question related to probate law attorneys in Tennessee has been answered.

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Location: Tennessee  |  Law type: probate law attorneys
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My father recently passed and, according to his third wife, died intestate. She petitioned and was appointed administrator of the estate. There have been several instances of suspicious activity from her since her appointment, and she refuses to have contact with me. She hasn't informed me about the goings on of the estate in any form, and while I don't think she's legally obligated to do so, she does have fiduciary duties to perform which should include transparency in regards to her management of the estate. I want to request a formal accounting from her, but I don't know how long I have to wait before I can make that request in the state of Tennessee. What would that wait time be?

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Legal Solution

The response provided below is specific to probate law attorneys in the jurisdiction of Tennessee. If the response is inadequate, please submit a detailed inquiry.

The Fiduciary Duties of an Administrator in Tennessee Intestate Cases

Your concern centers on the fiduciary duties of an estate administrator and the right of a beneficiary to demand an accounting in Tennessee. When a person dies intestate (without a will), the estate is settled following Tennessee's intestate succession laws. As a potential heir, you have specific rights, which include ensuring that the administrator is acting in the best interests of the estate and its beneficiaries.

Relevant Tennessee Statutes

  • Tennessee Code Annotated (T.C.A.) § 30-2-601 – Intestate Successive Rights
  • T.C.A. § 30-2-702 – Appointment of an Administrator
  • T.C.A. § 30-2-716 – Duties and Powers of Administrators

You can reference these and other relevant statutes on the official Tennessee State Government website.

Solution to the Problem

In Tennessee, an estate administrator has a duty to ensure all assets are accounted for, debts are paid, and remaining assets are distributed according to state laws. If you suspect mismanagement or any suspicious activities:

  1. Document Concerns: Maintain a record of all suspected irregularities or failures in communication. This will be vital if legal action is required later.
  2. Formal Request for Accounting: You can make a formal written request asking for an account of the estate's assets, debts, and distributions at any time. If the administrator refuses or does not provide a satisfactory accounting, you may petition the probate court.
  3. Legal Counsel: Consider hiring a probate lawyer to assist in understanding your rights, navigating the probate process, and potentially contesting any actions (or inactions) of the administrator.

Average Costs for Probate-related Services in Tennessee

Service Average Cost
Initial consultation with a probate attorney $250 - $500
Full estate administration services $2,500 - $5,000
Contesting an administrator's actions $5,000 - $10,000
Filing for a formal accounting $1,500 - $3,000

Note: Prices can vary based on the complexity of the estate and the specific circumstances surrounding the case. Always obtain a detailed fee agreement before retaining an attorney.

Additional Clarifications

Would you be able to specify the nature of the suspicious activities? This could help in offering a more targeted advice. Remember, the key is to ensure your rights and inheritance are protected. When dealing with such sensitive and complex issues, it's often beneficial to find the right lawyer to guide you through the process.

Relevant Questions

  1. Have you obtained a copy of the estate's inventory? This would give you a preliminary overview of the estate's assets.
  2. Are there other beneficiaries or heirs who share your concerns? A united front can be more effective in addressing potential mismanagement.
  3. Are you aware of any existing debts of the estate? Debts would be paid before assets are distributed to heirs.

Q1: What are the main responsibilities of an estate administrator in Tennessee?

An estate administrator in Tennessee is responsible for identifying and inventorying the deceased's assets, paying any debts and taxes, and distributing the remaining assets to the heirs as per the state's intestate succession laws.

Q2: Can I challenge the appointment of an administrator?

Yes, if you believe the appointed administrator is not suitable or has conflicts of interest, you can petition the court to reconsider the appointment.

Q3: How long does the probate process typically take in Tennessee?

The duration varies based on the estate's complexity, but on average, it can take anywhere from six months to two years or more.

Q4: What happens if the estate's debts exceed its assets?

If this happens, the estate is considered insolvent. The administrator must then prioritize paying debts as per Tennessee's laws, and beneficiaries might not receive any inheritance.

Q5: Do I need a lawyer to navigate the probate process?

While it's possible to go through the probate process without an attorney, having a knowledgeable probate lawyer can be invaluable, especially in complex situations or when disputes arise.

Disclaimer

This content is for informational purposes only and does not establish an attorney-client relationship. It's always recommended to consult with a local attorney about your specific situation.

Written, answered, changed

Legal question "How soon after a descendant has passed away intestate can a beneficiary ask the administer for an accounting in the state of Tennessee? " has been changed 9 months ago. Demonstrate your legal skills and willingness to help and answer right now! Issue is related to the location of Tennessee & area of law: probate law attorneys.
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