Scriber Law Group, LLC.

Probate of Wills

Dealing with the loss of a loved one is a particularly difficult experience. It is often made more difficult by the process of handling the Will, known in Georgia as “Probate”. If your loved one died without a Will, the estate is distributed in a process known as “Administration.”

This is where the assistance of an experienced and trusted Probate attorney can be of significant value. We are committed to providing our clients with the comprehensive legal advice that is necessary to complete the process of Probate with minimum stress and few distractions, which ultimately can save the client time and money.

What Is Probate?

Probate is a process that involves submitting a Will to the local Probate Court, notifying family members and those that benefit from the Will, performing an accounting of estate assets, distributing the estate according to the terms of the Will, and eventually closing the estate.

During the Probate, an Executor, either nominated in the Will or by the Probate Court, is named, takes the required oath, and receives a document called the “Letters Testamentary.” The Executor is tasked with several responsibilities.

First, the Executor must identify and inventory the contents of the estate. This can be a time-consuming step as many significant properties or accounts may be considered to be non-Probate assets as the ownership automatically transferred to someone upon the death of the deceased.

For example, a house or bank account may be owned as joint tenants with right of survivorship. Complete ownership would automatically transfer to the surviving owner(s) of this property. Automobiles and other vehicles owned by multiple parties automatically transfer to the surviving owner(s). Other property maybe titled to the name of a trust. These trust assets are not part of the estate and will be managed by a Trustee or Trustees. When a person dies with a membership or significant share of a company such as an S-Corp, LLC, LLP, etc., the transfer of the interest may be governed by the bylaws or partnership agreement of the company.

Finally, the proceeds of retirement plans such as IRAs and 401(k) plans and life insurance policies typically go straight to the beneficiary as defined by the policy and are not included in the estate. However, if the life insurance has no stated beneficiary or the estate is named as beneficiary, then the policy proceeds must be included in the Probate of the estate to be transferred according to the Will.

The best way to understand what is in the estate and whether to include it in Probate is to consult an experienced Georgia Probate or estate planning attorney.

Second, the Executor must identify and settle the estate’s taxes and debts owed with creditors. It is important that these get handled before any distributions are made under the Will. The Executor should also be aware that many major bills, such as those for final medical care and funeral costs, can arrive several weeks after the death. However, it is important to know that many bills can be settled in a way that can preserve much of the estate for the Beneficiaries.

Third, once the estate’s taxes and debts have been paid or settled, the Executor must then distribute what is left of the estate according to the Will. This is an area that often creates difficulties if the valuation of the estate has not been done correctly and Beneficiaries believe that they have not received what they are entitled to under the Will. It is also important to record real estate transfers with the local Clerk of Superior Court in your Georgia county and make sure all transfer taxes have paid.

While engaged in these responsibilities, the Executor must submit paperwork to the court and may face challenges from family members and other interested parties. These matters often require the assistance of an attorney and our office would be able to help. Typically, the estate pays for all necessary attorney’s fees and court fees.

Further, the Executor must make certain strategic decisions about the process of Probate. These include deciding on the type of Probate that will best accomplish the estate’s goals while saving time and money. When making these decisions, it is important to consult an experienced Probate attorney.

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Scriber Law Group, LLC.

Get your questions answered - Call for a complimentary strategy session at (404) 939-7562.

How Long Does Probate Take?

The process of Probate can vary dramatically in length due to the type of Probate chosen, the assets held by the estate, and the dynamics between the parties involved.

Sometimes, the speed can be significantly accelerated by hiring an experienced Georgia Probate attorney who can deal with the court and make sure the correct procedures are being followed on a timely basis.

At one end of the spectrum, a simple estate not subject to estate tax with a Will that meets all legal requirements and formalities, with few Beneficiaries that are not in disagreement, and an attorney that understands how to handle all issues involved can be closed in as few as six months after filing. At the other end, complex estates and those with legal challenges can be held open for years.

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How We Can Help

We assist Executors, Beneficiaries, or anyone with an interest in a Georgia estate in all aspects of the process of Probate. We provide all necessary legal services needed by the client, including advice and consultation on all steps of the process, preparation and filing of all legal petitions and required documents, communication with all necessary parties, and resolution of all disputes. We have worked on Probate matters involving:

  • Caveats
  • Probate of Wills
  • Petitions for Letters Testamentary
  • Petition for Letters of Administration
  • Administration of Intestate Estates
  • Objections to Executors
  • Objections to Administrators
  • Intestacy proceedings
  • Ancillary estates
  • Inventories
  • Tax management
  • Final accounting
  • Investing and distributing assets
  • Gathering (“Marshaling”) and protecting assets

We understand the conflict that can occur within a family mourning the loss of a loved one and struggling to divide the estate. Our Atlanta attorneys can work to prevent such challenges from arising and turning into litigation. In the event that your family is struggling with issues surrounding the division of an estate, performance issues of the Executor, or any other legal issue arising from the process of Probate, we have the knowledge and expertise to advise you.

Before proceeding into the process of Probate, it is very important to talk with an attorney experienced in Georgia Probate law to understand what is needed and what alternatives exist, such as a Year’s Support action.

Contact Us

If you are having trouble with the process of Probate, have any questions, or would like to get started, call our office at (404) 939-7562 or contact us online for a free consultation.

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Scriber Law Group, LLC.

Get your questions answered - Call for a complimentary strategy session at (404) 939-7562.