What is a Caveat?
Upon the death of a person, the assets of an estate are typically distributed according to the terms of a Will. However, a person interested in the distribution of the estate can sometimes challenge the Will on the grounds that it is invalid. Such a challenge is known as a Will caveat.
A Will caveat can be filed only under certain circumstances. For instance, an interested party cannot merely argue that a Will is invalid because he or she is unhappy with what they are set to receive under the Will. Rather, Georgia law explains that Will caveats are appropriate when something interferes with a loved one’s ability to create the Will, such as “fraudulent practices upon the testator’s fears, affections, or sympathies; misrepresentation; duress; or undue influence whereby the will of another is substituted for the wishes of the testator.” O.C.G.A. § 53-4-12. Thus, a Will caveat may be appropriate when a loved one lacks capacity to make a Will, or when someone else exerts improper influence at the time the Will is made.
Here are some real-world examples:
- After a father is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, one son convinces his father to alter the terms of the Will in his favor and against the other children.
- A caretaker convinces an elderly individual to write the caretaker into the Will at the expense of the elder’s children.
- A brother threatens his sister with bad consequences, unless he is placed in her Will.
If you believe that a Will caveat should be filed, have any questions, or would like to get started, call our office at (404) 939-7562 or contact us online for a free consultation.