Often, when a loved one passes away, one of the largest assets in the estate is a house or other piece of real estate. And unfortunately, dealing with real estate can often be the trickiest part of the estate administration process. Depending on the nature of the situation, there can be several ways real estate will be handled.
If there is a Will, and no other property involved, you may be able to use a process known as muniment of title. Rather than a full probate, muniment is a limited, faster procedure in which property is transferred out of the decedent’s name and into the names of those listed in the Will. According to Tennessee Code Annotated section 32-5-109, “a copy of the Will, certified by the clerk, may be registered in the county where the land lies as a muniment of title, and a copy from the books of the register, duly certified by the register, shall be evidence” of the new ownership.
An even narrower approach can be the use of affidavits of heirship, which can normally be done without court involvement. Affidavits may be also be used to transfer property out of the decedent’s name, even when there is no Will involved. Affidavits are often used in real estate closings when decedent’s heirs are selling the property.
Often, however, due to provisions in the Will or other circumstances, real estate may involve opening a probate estate in the name of the deceased. While this may sound scary, it is nothing to fear, as Tennessee law generally makes the probate process streamlined and efficient. Regardless of the nature of the situation, when real estate is involved, it is imperative that you seek prudent legal counsel from an attorney specializing in probate and estate administration. If you are facing such a situation, the attorneys at The Pickler Law Firm would be happy to talk with you.