Contesting a Will in Georgia
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If properly drawn up, a will is a great way to pass assets to your children, family, friends, or charity and ensure that your final wishes are carried out as you desire. Unfortunately, a person or persons will sometimes dispute or contest the will in place, so it’s always best to find an experienced, knowledgeable attorney who can resolve a disputed or contested will, even if it means litigation.
Whether you’re looking to create a will, resolve a contested will, or contest a will yourself, The Law Office of Paul Black can help you meet all of your Georgia will & probate needs. Here’s what you need to know about contesting a will in Georgia from our experts.
What Does it Mean to Contest a Will?
If your lawyer determines you have a case, they can file a contest on your behalf. In legal terms, contesting a will is a process that involves formally objecting the will’s validity. This is based on the contention that the will does not reflect the actual intent of the testator or that it is otherwise invalid.
The goal of contesting a will is to question a current will and enforce a previous version where you are a beneficiary. If you do not appear in several versions of the will, your chances of a successful dispute will become slimmer as several wills have to be proven invalid. Be prepared to have a burden of proof ready.
What Happens When You Contest a Will?
The steps to contesting a will could delay probate by years and is likely to fail. Because of this, a settlement may be reached. It is likely to be smaller than if you won the case, but it will save you legal fees and avoid a long probate process that likely could damage relationships with family members.
If you win your case, you are now in control of the assets you claimed, like being cut a check or having a hefty lump sum deposited into your bank account. Any physical property would be transferred, and your name added to the title when it is registered with the county. If you win a house with a mortgage, you will assume responsibility for payments and the lender is made aware you are the new owner.
If you lose the contested will case, you can expect to be disinherited from other property you may have previously been entitled to. The other beneficiaries may appeal, so prepare for a trial that is costly and lengthy.
Keep in mind that there may be a time limit of up to four years on your ability to contest a will. The exact time limit depends on whether the will was executed under solemn form or common form in probate court. You should contact an attorney as soon as possible for legal advice on whether the contesting of a will is still an option.