Atlanta Estate Litigation Lawyer
Helping Clients Navigate Estate Contests
If you must challenge any aspect of the administration of an estate, it is essential to obtain the legal representation of a knowledgeable estate litigation attorney in Atlanta. At Meyring Law Firm, we are dedicated to protecting our clients through each step of their cases. Estate litigation includes a wide range of legal issues relating to 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 litigation is necessary to resolve any type of estate contest, 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.
Robert Meyring aims to combine decades of experience 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. Estate contests can be highly emotional and legally complex. These matters can veer into personal relationships and familial dynamics, but our team is well-versed in the nuances necessary to navigate these waters with the utmost care and scrutiny.
Executors, Administrators & Claimants
As you start to investigate estate litigation, you’re probably spotting a ton of terminology that seems unclear. Below, we explain some of the terms you might hear the most often:
- The executor of a will is someone who 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 administrator to preside over the estate administration. This individual is sometimes referred to as a personal representative. The powers and duties remain similar to those of an executor. The administrator must provide notice of their appointment to interested parties of the estate.
- 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 quickly to file a written claim with the executor to avoid an expiration of the statute of limitations.
Who Is a Beneficiary in Estate Litigation?
The beneficiary in estate litigation is an individual who receives the benefits such as property, 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, individuals, or charitable organizations. Because accounts and beneficiaries can easily overlap, it’s best practice to consult with an experienced legal representative about 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 believes 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. If they do not contest the will within that designated time, they may lose their right to challenge the will’s validity altogether.
A will can only be contested if the heir has a well-founded reason to believe it was entered into under duress, because of fraud, or in another scenario that would render it invalid. An heir or family member typically cannot contest a last will and testament simply because they were not given what they thought was their fair share. The person contesting the will must also prove that they should be entitled to assets in the first place because they were or should have reasonably been named in the will. Not just anyone can challenge a will.
In Georgia, will contests may be based on such grounds as:
- Lack of mental capacity
- Undue influence
- Improper execution
- The existence of a later will
Contesting a will is not an easy process. If you are the person bringing such a dispute, the burden will be on your shoulders to prove your claim is valid. It is important to work with an attorney who has experience with will contests in Atlanta.
If you need assistance with a will contest or any dispute involving an estate, our estate litigation attorney in Atlanta may be able to assist you with your case. Estate litigation can be complex and stressful to the parties involved, and our experienced attorney works hard to make the process easier and more manageable for our clients. Our clients involved in will and estate contests have the peace of mind of knowing that our Atlanta estate litigation attorney will be a zealous advocate and will communicate clearly to achieve the best possible results.
Trust Disputes in Atlanta, GA
The administration of a trust can be complicated, and if anything is left unclear or open to interpretation, the possibility of a dispute is high. Trust litigation may also arise if a beneficiary has concerns about trust accounting or suspects a breach of fiduciary duty on the part of the trust administrator. In these and all other trust disputes, Meyring Law Firm offers experienced legal counsel to help trustees, heirs, and beneficiaries assert their rights and interests.
Our team can help with Atlanta trust disputes involving:
- Breaches of fiduciary duty
- Disputes between heirs or beneficiaries
- Accounting errors or misconduct
- Fraud or forgery
- Undue influence
In Georgia, trust disputes must be filed within four years. If you want to contest a trust or need help because someone has accused you of misconduct or is threatening your share of a trust, our team stands ready to help. You may even have grounds to contest a trust if you were disinherited or should have inherited more if a trust hadn’t been established. Each case is different, and the courts will consider many factors when ruling on a trust dispute. You must ensure that your case is presented in a clear, compelling manner and that your rights are protected to the fullest extent.
Get Help from an Atlanta Estate Contest Lawyer
At Meyring Law Firm, our Atlanta estate contest attorney can represent any party, 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 and to ensure that you have all of the protection you require to successfully navigate your case.
Call our firm at (678) 257-3332 to have our staff review your case to find out which of our affordable legal services is best for your situation.
"I contracted Robert for service and was extremely pleased with the entire experience."Eleanor W.
"I enjoyed the small firm atmosphere, courteousness, and competent staff members. I can honestly say that there was no pressure and Mr. Meyring took the time to answer all of my questions."Former Client
"I am grateful to Mr. Meyring for his support"Stephanie
"We are comforted by knowing that should anything happen to my mother, her wishes will be followed. We are VERY grateful to Mr. Meyring and to Catie for all their efforts."Rebecca H.
"I was very impressed with the services that I received at the Meyring Law Firm."Steve R.
Robert S. Meyring AttorneyRobert 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.View Profile
Helping with Estate Planning & Probate
In Atlanta, Georgia
Our legal team proudly serves clients all across the greater Atlanta area!
- Sandy Springs
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.