Georgia Probate: Frequently Asked Questions
People tend to have a lot of questions about the probate process in Georgia. With more than 25 combined years of experience, our attorneys can answer your questions and help alleviate your burdens. Here are some basic things to understand:
What is probate?
Probate is the legal process of distributing a deceased person’s assets and debts to heirs and beneficiaries. Probate typically involves verifying the deceased person’s last will and testament, although probate also occurs if the deceased person died without a will.
What happens if someone dies without a will?
When a loved one passes without a will, the deceased person is said to have died “intestate.” The probate court must then decide how the deceased person’s assets and debts should be distributed.
Unfortunately, confusion and family disputes often arise in these situations. A will is generally created to clarify a person’s wishes, but without a will, the probate court must distribute the estate according to Georgia probate law — and not necessarily according to the wishes of the deceased or the family.
Discuss your concerns with us if your loved one passed without a will. Our probate attorneys can assess your case and explain your options.
What is year’s support?
In Georgia, the probate court can be petitioned for year’s support, which allows the spouse and/or minor children of the deceased to receive property from the estate before any debts are paid to creditors. Historically, year’s support has been used to provide for the surviving spouse or minor children after the death of the family’s primary breadwinner.
Because year’s support can effectively mean that the surviving spouse will receive most or all of the estate, petitions for year’s support are sometimes challenged by other heirs and beneficiaries.
A petition for year’s support must be filed within two years of the death. It is crucial that this filing is done properly for it to be successful. The petitioner is required to list all parties who are believed to have an interest in the estate, and the petitioner must identify the property to be set aside for year’s support. To avoid any mistakes, it is important to have an experienced probate attorney handle this filing.
How can a probate attorney help?
Probate is a complex and potentially time-consuming process. For anyone handling estate matters after the loss of a loved one, the assistance of an experienced probate attorney can greatly alleviate burdens and ensure that the process goes as quickly and smoothly as possible.
Our probate attorneys can also help you prevent or resolve any disputes that may arise. We handle probate litigation, as well as appeals of unfavorable court decisions regarding estate matters. Very few law firms have our level of experience in estate litigation and appeals.