Atlanta Probate Lawyers

15+ Years of Probate Experience in Georgia

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.

Learn more about how we can help with all your Atlanta probate questions. Contact us by calling (678) 257-3332 today!

About the Georgia Probate Process

First and foremost, in 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 for families who are entering the probate process in Georgia.

The facts and reality surrounding probate proceedings are relatively straightforward if an experienced Atlanta 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 strong and well-crafted will.

Taxation & Probate

The American Taxpayer Relief Tax Act of 2012 helped 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 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 who lacks a will and leaves behind estranged or blended family members will have a higher likelihood to have a longer, and in some cases, more difficult probated estate.

Probate of Estate With & Without a Will

When a person has a valid last will and testament, probate is typically more streamlined. This is particularly true if their will is legally sound and clearly states how all assets are to be divided amongst heirs or otherwise addressed. 

When there is no will, Georgia’s intestate succession laws will dictate how property is divided. The decedent’s property would go to the closest living relative, in this order: 

  • If you had a spouse but no children, your spouse would inherit your property. 
  • If you had children but no spouse, your children would inherit everything. 
  • If you had a spouse and children, they would share the inheritance, with your spouse getting at least one-third of the total amount. 
  • If you had no spouse or children, your parents would inherit your property. 
  • If you had no spouse, children, or parents, your siblings would inherit everything.

If you are entitled to inherit under Georgia law, you may be able to ask the probate court to issue an order stating that probate is unnecessary. This would apply only if:

  • There is no valid last will and testament.
  • You and other heirs agree on how to divide assets.
  • There are no debts and no creditors to object to a lack of probate proceedings.

Objections to Probate

When a person dies with a will and a petition to probate is sent to the court, the court will notify heirs so they may review the will. Heirs then have the opportunity to object to the probate of the will. An objection must be based on valid legal grounds. For example, an heir may not object to probate simply because they believe they were not treated fairly in the decedent’s will. There must have been some type of fraud or wrongdoing involved that renders the will invalid.

Some potential objections to probate in Atlanta, GA may include:

  • Undue influence
  • Lack of capacity
  • Elder abuse
  • Fraud
  • Forgery
  • Lack of due execution
  • Revocation

If no heirs object to probate or if any objections are reviewed and dismissed, the will is considered valid and the administration of the estate may begin.

Year’s Support Claim for Surviving Spouses

In the Georgia probate process, a surviving spouse may file a Petition for Year’s Support. This can also be filed on behalf of minor children. This petition essentially asks the court to set aside an amount of money that would support the spouse for one year. If awarded, a Year’s Support takes priority over other claims to a decedent’s estate, including funeral costs and creditors' claims. 

At this time, there is no set amount, minimum, or cap on what the probate court may award for a Year’s Support claim. The court will consider several factors when deciding whether to award a Year’s Support to a surviving spouse and what amount it will be.

A surviving spouse must file a Petition for Year’s Support within two years of the loss of their loved one. If the surviving spouse remarries, this also terminates their right to file for support. In most cases, a last will and testament will include a provision that addresses a spouse’s right to file for a Year’s Support, stating that the assets awarded in the will would be provided in lieu of support. 

Suggested Reading:

Our firm can work with you to find the options that are right for you and your family. Give our Atlanta probate lawyer a call today at (678) 257-3332 to schedule a consultation!

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    Robert S. Meyring Attorney
    Robert S. Meyring is the managing attorney of Meyring Law Firm (established 2007). Before law school, he worked as an FDA investigator, was a Peace Corps volunteer high school science teacher in Tonga, South Pacific, and was the owner/operator of a residential landscape firm.
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Estate Planning Services
In Atlanta, GA

Our legal team proudly serves clients all across the greater Atlanta area!

Common Cities:
  • Atlanta
  • Marietta
  • Decatur
  • Smyrna
  • Sandy Springs
  • Alpharetta
  • Roswell
  • Tucker
  • Lawrenceville
  • Kennesaw
Common Zip Codes:
  • 30301,  
  • 30308,  
  • 30008,  
  • 30060,  
  • 30030,  
  • 30080,  
  • 30068,  
  • 30004,  
  • 30009,  
  • 30021,  
  • 30043,  
  • 30144

Frequently Asked Questions

Here to Help Every Step of the Way
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.

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