Atlanta Estate Litigation Attorneys
Helping Clients Navigate Complex Legal Disputes
As you navigate a probate litigation case, it is essential to obtain the legal representation of a knowledgeable estate litigation attorney in Atlanta. At the Meyring Law Firm, our estate litigation attorneys are dedicated to protecting our clients through each step of their cases. Estate litigation includes a wide range of legal issues relating to the trust and estate administration, including challenges to the validity of a will, fraud in the execution of a will, and the legitimacy of will beneficiaries and claimants to the estate.
When it is necessary to litigate to resolve issues in the probate of an estate, our firm represents:
Litigation that involves estates and trusts often starts when a beneficiary, heir, or an estate creditor believes that assets within an estate are mishandled by a personal representative. If the personal representative has managed the estate in a faulty manner, the heirs or beneficiaries can petition to have them removed as the trustee.
What is Estate Litigation?
Estate litigation is a particular area of law that deals primarily with resolving trust and estate proceedings. This form of litigation can pertain to a multitude of issues that include:
- Will contests
- Trust litigation
- Breaches of fiduciary duties by trustees
- Disputes of undue influence
- Guardianships and conservatorships
- Trust modification
Typically, in an estate litigation scenario, an attorney will also provide clients with information regarding consultation on policies and practices related to estate law, notifying clients about acceptable fiduciary conduct and other standards at a state and federal level that could apply to their estate. This form of litigation typically takes place within the realm of state probate codes, and the procedures fall under the management of probate and surrogate courts, the arena in which the majority of trust and probate matters are determined.
Our attorneys that practice in this sector aim to combine decades of experience in working with clients and beneficiaries in a collaborative, thoughtful environment with a deep knowledge of Georgia estate laws that govern how estates and wills are administered. Because these matters can veer into personal relationships and familial dynamics, our attorneys are well-versed in the nuances necessary to navigate these waters with the utmost care and scrutiny.
Executors, Administrators, and Claimants
As you start to investigate estate litigation, you’re probably spotting a ton of terminology that seems unclear. The executor of a will is someone that is named in a will and takes up the legal responsibility to carry out the deceased’s remaining financial matters. They will distribute the assets of the will, pay off remaining debts and taxes, and make court appearances for the estate. The executor can decline their role, but these roles are often carried out by close family members and discussed in advance of a death.
An administrator of an estate is named when a will is not present, and a court appoints an estate administrator to preside over the estate administration. This individual is sometimes referred to as a personal representative. The powers and duties remain similar as that of an executor. The administrator must provide notice of their appointment to interested parties of the estate.
Claimants are another layer in estate litigation. Claimants are those, such as credit card companies or banks, which must make a claim on an estate when outstanding debt exists and needs to be paid. In most areas, the executor is required to post a notice in newspapers or elsewhere to creditors after probate opens up. Some states go further and require written notice by the executor to all known creditors. For creditors to become claimants, they must operate in a quick fashion to file a written claim with the executor as to avoid an expiration of the statute of limitations.
All of these roles are central to estate litigation, and their interaction plays a vital part in how an estate is ultimately administered.
Who Is Considered a Beneficiary in Estate Litigation?
The beneficiary in estate litigation is an individual who receives the benefits laid out in a will. This can include property, the benefits of insurance policies or pension plans, IRAs, or other financial instruments.
Beneficiary designations can be incredibly complicated, depending on the instrument and how a beneficiary is named. There are varying types of beneficiaries, such as contingent beneficiaries that receive assets should the primary beneficiary become deceased before administration. Beneficiaries may be the estate itself, such as when listing an estate as the beneficiary of an insurance policy. Beneficiaries can be individuals or even charitable organizations.
Because accounts and beneficiaries can easily overlap, it’s best practice to consult with an experienced legal representative in regard to estate litigation and planning to ensure that beneficiaries are not accidentally disinherited and that, in the presence of multiple accounts and assets, consistency remains steady.
Disputes over wills occur when an heir or beneficiary of a past will believe that the will used for probate is not valid. Once the petition to probate is served, the heirs have a set time frame in which to object to the probate of the will.
Contests of wills are often based on any of the following grounds:
- Undue influence
- Improper execution
- Existence of a later will
If you need assistance with a dispute involving any aspect of an estate, our estate litigation attorneys in Atlanta can assist you with your case. Estate litigation can be complex and stressful to the parties involved, and our experienced probate litigation attorneys work hard to make the process easier and manageable for our clients. Our clients involved in will contests or estate litigation have the peace of mind of knowing that our estate litigation attorney will be a zealous advocate and will communicate clearly to achieve the best possible results.
Get Help from Our Compassionate & Honest Attorneys in Atlanta
At the Meyring Law Firm, our estate litigation lawyers in Atlanta can represent any party, the plaintiff, or defendant who is involved in an estate dispute. If you are involved in a circumstance in which a child is entitled to property, a loved one is being taken advantage of, or any other circumstance that requires estate litigation, we can stand by your side and offer ample protection. We have the experience necessary to resolve any probate or estate administration or litigation issue. Ensure that you have all of the protection you require to successfully navigate your case.