Intro to Probate: How to Open an Estate

By Aurthur Fowler - 1/29/2016

Each county has its own method for opening an estate. You should contact the probate court clerk to see how the court would like for you to handle the estate. Some counties require you to prepare numerous documents while others require you to prepare very few. Every county will require you to prepare a petition to open the estate. Pursuant to T.C.A. § 30-1-117, the petition must:

  • Be sworn to.
  • Contain information about the decedent.
  • State whether the decedent had a Will.
  • Provide the names and information regarding the heirs or beneficiaries.
  • Contain an estimate of the fair market value of the assets subject to probate.
  • State whether there is a document waiving inventory, bond, or accountings.
  • If there is a Will, it must contain a statement that there is no document revoking or changing the Will being offered for Probate.​
The petitioner does not have to give notice to anyone of the filing of the petition unless opening the estate in solemn form. After the estate is opened, the personal representative is required to give notice to the beneficiaries of a Testate estate or heirs of an Intestate estate.The Petition to open the estate must be accompanied by an Order opening the Estate and any other documents required by the probate court.