Atlanta Probate Lawyers
Guiding Clients Through the Legal Process
The Georgia probate process is used in situations when an estate that has been left behind by a deceased family member, business associate, or friend needs to be divided and sorted in a legal manner. The good news is that the probate of wills in the state of Georgia typically is not a particularly expensive or time-consuming process, especially when the will was prepared by an experienced Atlanta probate attorney.
This is advantageous for family members and friends who want to move beyond the courts and on with their lives.
Probate in Georgia & Out of State: Meyring Law Firm in Atlanta
The benefits for the family and friends hold even more true with the experienced Georgia probate lawyers of Meyring Law Firm. The highest degree of preparation a person can have to defend their estate, property, and belongings upon their death is by having a well-drafted, well-thought-out will that clearly expresses the wishes and intents of the grantor.
If you’re trying to take the necessary steps to probate in the state of Georgia, specifically from out-of-state, you can discover the process by using a complimentary case evaluation with the attorneys at Meyring Law Firm. We have over a decade of experience dealing with probate law and counseling residents of Atlanta and out-of-state so they can protect their future!
How Does Probate Work in Georgia?
When a family member or loved one passes away in Georgia with property, and the deceased’s family does not live in Georgia, the situation requires out-of-state probate.
How does a friend or family member probate the estate of the deceased if they live far away from the decedent’s home state? There are a host of legal, logistical, and financial questions that need to be answered, mainly because of the geographic distance between the friend/relative and the departed.
As probate attorneys, the most common questions we are asked concerning these issues include:
- Is the Georgia probate process difficult?
- Would you please explain the Georgia probate process?
- How long is probate in Georgia?
- Is probate actually needed to handle the decedent’s estate? Why?
- Do I need to visit Georgia to process probate of the estate?
- What exactly is probate?
We Are Here to Answer Your Questions Thoroughly & With Transparency
Facts About the Probate Process in Georgia
First and foremost, the good news is that in the state of Georgia, there is no state tax on “probate assets.” This is similar to Florida, South Carolina, and others that occupy the northeast United States. This allows for additional savings to families that are entering the probate process in Georgia.
The facts and reality surrounding probate proceedings are relatively straightforward if an experienced Atlanta, GA probate lawyer created the will. The typical estate probate proceeding in this scenario can be completed in roughly six to nine months under normal circumstances, often at a relatively low cost when compared to the alternative of not having a well-crafted, strong will prepared.
Taxation & Probate
The American Taxpayer Relief Tax Act of 2012 (ATRA) helped to introduce the concept of portability to the probate process, which makes proper probate of an estate and the steps to file a well-planned estate tax return even more critical than in the past. Having the appropriate legal counsel there for support can pull the curtain back on this process and put your mind at ease.
How Long Is Probate In Georgia?
Are you settling an estate in the probate process? Wondering how long before this process is completed? The probate process in Georgia can take anywhere from 12 to 18 months to several years depending on the complexity of the estate’s situation.
How to Avoid Probate in Georgia
The probate process can be timely and costly. To avoid probate altogether the most beneficial thing to set up in your estate plan to give you peace of mind and provide for your loved ones is to create a living trust.
When you create a living trust, you can shift your property’s ownership and the trustee of your choice will oversee the administration of the assets in your trust and the distribution of your property. The court is not involved in the process.
Your trustee will administer the assets of your trust and your property directly to your beneficiaries. Your property and assets will be passed on directly to your named beneficiaries.
- Probate Out-Of-State: The Georgia Probate Process
- Estate Planning and Probate: What You Need to Know
Call the Meyring Law Firm today to help create your estate plan. Our firm will work with you to find the options that work for you and your family. Give our Atlanta probate lawyers a call today at (678) 257-3332 to schedule a consultation!
How to Probate a Will in Georgia
Probate in Georgia is a relatively streamlined process. Every estate is different, but pre-planned estates and more agreeable surviving families are the two main factors that increase the speed and ease of the probate process.
Probated estates that experience agreement and harmony among family members and will-named beneficiaries are the quickest to process and least stressful for those members or beneficiaries. Conversely, the decedent that lacks a will and that leaves behind estranged or blended family members will have a higher likelihood to have a longer, and in some cases, more difficult probated estate.
Step One: The probate process typically starts with the proper preparation and filing of a Petition to Probate in Solemn Form. Executors appointed through solemn form probate can petition to be discharged from their liability and responsibilities six months after their appointment. This occurs if a will was executed by the decedent. The Petition to Probate in Solemn Form is a representative device through which the court tries to make a decision as to whether the will offered up for probate is legally valid. It also looks to decide if it was executed by the decedent correctly and follows the grantor’s terms. All of this must be proven to establish that undue influence on the decedent’s mental capabilities did not occur.
Step Two: Once the probate court approves the petition to probate, the individual named as executor is granted the “Letters Testamentary,” a document issued by a probate court that gives an executor the power to act in a fiduciary manner on behalf of the estate. At this point, the executor is declared to be the legal representative of the estate of the decedent. Next, once the executor is vested as the legal representative of the estate, the process of administering the estate begins. What this process entails is the collecting and management of assets of the estate, filing the necessary tax returns, paying out and resolving claims that creditors and others may have against the estate, and, finally, distributing the remaining appointed assets of the estate to the named beneficiaries listed under the will.
Step Three: The duration of probate enters its conclusion when a petition for discharge is filed. The executor stands before the probate court and declares that all duties assigned under the last will and testament have been executed. The court then declares that the executor is formally relieved of their duties, and free from any liabilities associated with the estate.
Our legal help is not a 'one and done' deal. Your future legalities are encompassed in these living documents that need to be updated constantly. We are here to provide you with lifetime support.
Forget the fear of being billed for a simple call to your attorney. We have an initial document prep fee that will give you access to our attorneys through phone, email or any other medium without being charged extra.
Our goal is to provide you with guidance that you can fully understand and trust. We want you to feel secure and supported throughout this process.
We offer a phone evaluation for current and potential clients to help find the right path for your situation. No two cases are the same, which is where our legal experience and customer service sets us above the rest.
Choosing the Right Probate Attorney Matters
The person responsible for probating the estate as an administrator or executor should also be careful to select a probate attorney who focuses their law practice on the probate of estates.
In our trusts and estates law firm, we have seen many estates probated by hired opportunistic professionals when no probate was actually needed. Whether probate is needed should always be reviewed by an experienced attorney rather than an opportunist.
How to Probate from Outside the State of Georgia
The executor named in the will or the family-nominated administrator of the estate living outside the state of Georgia actually does not need to visit Georgia to probate the estate.
Though it may be speedier and less costly to make a one-time visit to Georgia to probate the estate, sometimes the need for speed and the costs to probate the estate are not determining factors, thereby allowing the executor/administrator to probate from their home state. To probate an estate from outside Georgia, an attorney is required to represent the probating executor/administrator.
When probate in Georgia is needed, the process always requires the executor/administrator to file a petition and the original will – if there is one – in the decedent’s home county probate court. The decedent’s closest surviving relatives must be given the opportunity to acknowledge receiving a copy of the will and the petition that would be filed at the court – or they can file an objection.
If there is a proper objection to the will, its validity, its contents, or even the selection of executor or administrator, that objection will usually delay the completion of probate at least six months. The delay is written into the probate code so as to allow the parties to work it out and resolve the objection, or to litigate their differences in probate court.
Get the Help You Need with Probate
One of our probate lawyers in Atlanta can assist you in planning for the probate process by working through a detailed list of instructions regarding the following:
- How to structure a will to expedite the probate process
- What taxes an estate should be mindful of when planning
- What a named executor can expect when fulfilling their duties as outlined by the will in the probate process
What Does a Probate Lawyer Do?
- Drafting and executing a will — Ensuring that this state of the process is ironclad will mitigate the potential for extended probate litigation later on.
- Completing requirements for filing and processing — This will ease the burden and guarantee that all formalities and loose ends are tied up.
- Reporting to the court for probate or estate matters — Resolving the timeliness of the process at each stage of probate with the proper attention to each step of estate matters so that you can understand the management of the proceedings and faithfully execute your duties.
- Resolving issues with asset distribution — We will manage the aspects of the estate so that issues concerning how property and other benefits are delivered to beneficiaries are handled with the utmost care and transparency.
- Estate litigation, when necessary — This is, unfortunately, unavoidable at times. We will work with our experienced legal team to expedite the process and defend benefit claims in a just manner.
The legal team at Meyring Law Firm is here to provide the meaningful probate litigation attorney insight you need during this time. Contact us to set up an initial appointment or fill out a case evaluation.
What Is Probate Litigation?
The unfortunate reality is that many people believe that just by having a will in place, their final wishes will be carried out as specified. When dealing with large estates, bank accounts, properties, or a variety of debt claims and other circumstances surrounding the deceased’s estate, disputes can inevitably arise. This is when probate litigation comes in.
Will Contests in Atlanta
Probate litigation, in short, is the contesting of a will. The goal of such litigation is to provide an amicable solution to these disputes through a court of law.
The process will, ideally:
- Resolve outstanding tax liabilities
- Allow the appropriate heirs to receive their benefits
- And achieve a resolute outcome
Due to laws on limitation, timeliness is of the essence when disputing a claim in probate court. Add to it the very fragile nature of the circumstances, the familial aspects that can prove harmful to lifelong relationships, and all of it puts utmost necessity on seeking experienced probate litigation professionals as soon as possible.
What Could Cause a Probate Dispute?
There can be numerous reasons why a will could be contested in probate court. First, if the document was written in a manner that leaves gaps in the estate or otherwise failed to account for certain aspects of holdings, then it can create a situation in which disputes occur.
This situation places great importance on having a will handled by a professional attorney with a background in trusts and wills.
What Are the Grounds for a Will Contest?
A will can be contested on a multitude of grounds, including:
One common reason a will may be disputed in probate court concerns claims of undue influence. This reason for a dispute can be pressed for any number of reasons.
It may be that there was a concern that the original will was written under duress or that there was pressure or coercion to have the will written to benefit one party over others.
There may also be medical concerns. This is particularly true when the deceased was elderly at the time of the will and possibly experiencing symptoms or onset of diseases like Alzheimer’s that have a pronounced effect on the mental faculties.
The same can hold true when someone decides to create a will while undergoing ongoing medical treatment with a chance of death. These may all constitute grounds for probate litigation.
Distribution of Assets Disputes
Other reasons may occur when complete inventories of the estate and its property are not distributed amongst beneficiaries, creating an environment that lacks transparency.
These same concerns about transparency also pertain to when information about creditors and outstanding debts are not fully disclosed. In the same respect, when one beneficiary enjoys the full benefits of the estate, this can prove challenging for other family members and can lead to a court contest.
Guardianship & Administration Disputes
Further reasons for why probate litigation may be necessary regard differences of opinion over who will take over as personal representative (the bank or trust appointed to administer the estate).
There can also be disputes over issues such as guardianship or whether beneficiaries are performing their fiduciary duties to the full extent expected.
During probate, you can request to be appointed as a personal representative by the court. If approved, you will take an oath that promises to keep the estate’s best interest in mind. In this role, you hold the responsibility of ensuring the estate is settled properly.
A “letters of testamentary” document will be issued by the court that gives you certain authority to carry out these responsibilities.
Your Rights as a Personal Representative
Under this document, you will have the authority to do the following:
- Collect descendant’s personal assets
- Professionally appraise all assets and property
- Sell assets to put towards debts, taxes, or inheritance
- Distribute remaining property according to the will
Though some of these responsibilities may seem straightforward, it is strongly advised that you get advice from a probate attorney in Atlanta who is familiar with the various aspects and issues that can arise in the probate process.
Our Atlanta probate litigation team at Meyring Law Firm never strays from providing trusted legal advice and guidance, ensuring the process is streamlined for our clients from beginning to end.
In the end, it is often emotionally difficult for the surviving family to deal with the death of their loved one regardless of geography. The role of a supporting probating estates attorney should make the probate process easier for the client, more efficient, and less stressful by providing experienced legal guidance.
Our clients achieve peace of mind during the probate process, and are better off after its completion. If you would like that same opportunity as you look towards setting up your last will and testament, or if you would like legal advice on the roles of an executor during this process and how your family can best function to ensure a quick resolution to an estate when faced with death, reach out to our experienced GA probate lawyers today!
Meyring Law Firm is extremely professional, ethical, knowledgeable and courteous. I highly recommend their legal services.- Eleanor W.
The services were as described, the process was simple and straight forward, and we’re pleased with the final result.- Quashaunda P.
At the Meyring Law Firm, they answered all our questions and explained the laws in terms that we could understand- Stephen & Cheryl T.
Attorney Meyring clearly cares for individuals who face what can be daunting challenges in a wide variety of Probate Court matters.- Angela L.
I was always made aware of the status of my case. I would definitely recommend the Meyring Law Firm to my friends and family.- Jacob E.