Common Questions

Our experienced lawyers at Meyring Law Firm are often asked various questions from clients in Atlanta regarding estate planning matters. Here are some of the answers we give to common questions.

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  • General

    • Can a beneficiary sign a will?
      No, a beneficiary cannot be a witness to the signing of a will. The will must have two uninterested parties sign as witnesses.
    • Can I write my own will in Georgia?
      An individual can write his own will in Georgia but must follow certain statutory rules laid out in order to ensure the will is deemed valid by a probate court.
    • Can you sell an inherited property before probate?
      No, if it's real estate. If you are given a piece of real estate property in the decedent's last will and testament, and that property is still titled in the name of the deceased, you cannot sell that property unless you probate it.
    • Can a beneficiary be an executor of an estate?
      Yes, a beneficiary can be an executor of an estate.
    • Do you need a lawyer to probate a will?
      People hire a probate attorney because the benefits of having an attorney outweigh the costs of time and effort. Mainly people hire a probate attorney to save time and energy, reduce their worries, and navigate the probate process with a professional. So no, you do not need a lawyer to probate a will, if it is worth the time and effort to do it yourself.
    • Can you refuse an inheritance?
      Yes, you can refuse inheritance. Sometimes it may be necessary to make a documented legal disclaimer.
    • What does “executor” mean?
      Executor is the person named in the last will and testament that's appointed by the probate court to administer the estate of the decedent according to the will.
    • How long does it take to receive an inheritance? When can I get what was willed to me?
      The probate attorney can accurately answer how long it would take to receive an inheritance from an estate that has no will. The experienced attorney can estimate the time it would take to receive a gift from the decedent's will or trust.
    • What happens if a will is not probated?
      In Georgia, there is a legal mandate for the holder of a will to submit it to the court for probate per O.C.G.A. § 53-5-5. If a will is not filed with the court, any heir or beneficiary can petition the court to direct the will holder to file the will with the proper court. Wills are meant to be public documents once the grantor has passed away. Sometimes if a will is not filed with the court, beneficiaries and heirs cannot take legal possession of assets specified in the Last Will and Testament.
    • What does “heir” mean?
      An heir is one or more of the nearest living relatives of the deceased person at the time of death. Sometimes the heir is only the surviving spouse or child. Other times the heirs are any number of siblings, nephews and nieces, or cousins.