Probate

If you have recently lost a loved one, our hearts go out to you. In times like these, you deserve to have space to grieve and heal, but as you probably know, you must complete probate, as well. What others may not have told you is that probate can be a relatively smooth and painless process when you work under the guidance of a seasoned attorney.

What Is Probate?

Probate is the legal practice of verifying the accuracy of a last will and testament. It is also used to determine how a person’s assets should be distributed if they failed to plan for their passing ahead of time. Every state has its own probate court where this practice is carried out, but the timeline can vary widely.

If the deceased outlined their wishes in a trust, you can bypass probate entirely. Otherwise, though, it is advised that you select a competent attorney to represent you and your family in probate court. If you fail to do so, you will not only neglect the best interests of the decedent — you will leave yourself vulnerable to aggressive creditors who may continue to harass you for years to come. After all, one of the largest benefits of probate is that it requires all creditors to make their claims within four months of its completion.

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How It Works

First and foremost, a petition must be filed in the deceased person’s last county of residence. Here, the petitioner — generally a close family member of the decedent — will present a copy of their loved one’s birth certificate and, if applicable, their last will and testament. The court will then verify the validity of the will before distributing any available assets.

Next, someone must step up to manage the process. This person is known as an executor, and they are typically noted in the decedent's will. In the event that a will is not present, the probate court will instead elect someone of their choice, known as an administrator.

The executor’s initial duties are to take inventory of the estate, have it appraised, and pay any outstanding debts and taxes. Then, they may distribute the decedent’s assets according to the terms of the will or court.

When Conflicts Arise

While the idea of probate may seem simple enough, there are many pitfalls you and your family can encounter. Most often, these issues surround unhappy beneficiaries who believe they are entitled to a larger share of assets than the will or court provided. And such complaints can be significant when there is reason to believe their loved one was tricked or coerced at the time the will was written.

Other common conundrums include complaints about the appointed executor and concerns about violations of legal standards. Fortunately, with an experienced legal team on your side, you can proactively work to prevent such obstacles from arising and easily overcome them if they do happen to surface. So please, give us a call today for your own peace of mind and protection.

Probate Attorney in Marietta, GA

Probate can be tedious and lengthy, but by partnering with a knowledgeable legal team, you and your family can move through the process efficiently and effectively, thus allowing you more time to heal and move forward. Contact our office to schedule your free initial consultation and learn more about our approach to asset distribution.