A probate lawyer in Atlanta, Georgia, can help you navigate the complexities of the legal process if your deceased loved one’s estate is going through probate. Learn more here.
Author: Paul Black
Paul’s experience as the son of two parents with big health challenges is what led him to the work he does today and gives him first-hand knowledge of the challenges that many caregivers and family members face. After graduation from GSU Law, Paul was chosen from dozens of applicants nationwide as one of three 2010-2011 Borchard Foundation Law & Aging Fellows. Paul has been named as a SuperLawyers “Rising Star” in the area of Estate Planning and as a member of Georgia’s “Legal Elite” by Georgia Trend magazine. Published on: July 28, 2021.
Probate Lawyers Atlanta Georgia: What Is a Probate Lawyer?
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Probate can be defined as the official process of trying to prove a will. The probate process ensures that the estate belonging to the deceased is distributed fairly among the rightful beneficiaries whether a will was left behind or not.
A probate attorney is a licensed attorney who helps an administrator of a will or its beneficiaries get through with probate proceedings as they try to settle the matter.
Some of the services provided by probate lawyers include finding and listing any remaining assets of the estate, understanding as well as ensuring payment of any debts that these estates may have, and finally distributing these assets to the beneficiaries.
The Role of Probate Lawyers In Atlanta GA In Cases Where There Is No Will
In cases where the deceased left without leaving a will, an experienced Atlanta probate attorney may be required to ensure each rightful beneficiary gets his or her shares fairly. The estates are distributed according to the intestacy laws of the State of Georgia. Even though these laws vary from state to state, in most cases the spouse is the one who receives all the property.
When there is no Last Will and Testament, the court will appoint an administrator of the estate to handle the necessary estate matters. The role of a probate lawyer in such a case is to help the estate executor or personal representative in the distribution of the estates according to Georgia law. Regardless of the deceased’s wishes or the needs of the family members, a probate lawyer’s hands are tied to the laws of Georgia.
When it comes to probate and estate administration, if one of the deceased relatives wants to be the administrator, the right probate lawyers can help them file renunciations with the probate court from the other family members.
The Role of A Probate Attorney in Atlanta Georgia When A Will Is Available
Whenever the deceased has left a legal will behind, the beneficiaries of the will may also be advised to get a probate attorney to offer them proper guidance and legal advice.
The role of probate lawyers is to counter-check the will to ensure that it was not written under duress or in any other way that may seem the deceased was forced to do so against his will. This is especially important in cases of the elderly and those with cognitive disabilities such as dementia.
If there is no way to avoid probate, and the deceased has named someone to serve as a personal representative of the estate, this individual will have to settle the estate. After taking an oath to act in the best interest of the estate, the court will issue Letters of Administration or Letters Testamentary which will give the personal representative certain authority.
Among other things, they will have to handle estate planning documents, pay decedent’s debts and outstanding taxes, as well as disburse the remaining assets. Since Georgia probate process can be complex, a personal representative should hire an estate administration attorney who can help with different probate matters.
What Does A Probate Litigation Attorney in Atlanta GA Do?
Probate litigation simply refers to the legal proceedings which are associated with contesting wills, quieting titles to a property, disputing trust, and securing properties that may have been wrongfully taken. In other words, it is a court process in which people try to address a perceived wrong from the court concerning the will.
A probate litigation attorney in Atlanta GA, on the other hand, is an attorney who creates a strong attorney-client relationship with beneficiaries, trustees, and executors to help them navigate the litigation process for the best results. Their ultimate goal is to persuade the probate court judge to decide in their client’s best interests.
When Do I Need To Hire A Probate Litigation Attorney in Georgia?
Even if careful estate planning was done by the deceased and their lawyer before passing, certain estate disputes might arise. Often these estate disputes are between family members regarding the decedent’s estate. Whenever a family member, a beneficiary, or an heir conflicts over the decedent’s assets or estate, that is considered an estate dispute or estate litigation. Generally, probate and estate litigation involve trust and will contests.
Trust disputes occur when one or more beneficiaries of a trust are not satisfied with the trustee’s actions or the lack of action. Trustees owe a fiduciary duty to beneficiaries, meaning they must act in their best interest and the best interest of the trust. When they fail to do that, they breach their fiduciary duty, which may result in a claim being brought against them.
Sometimes the heirs of an estate can challenge the decedent’s will, which usually happens if they are not named in the will or think they should have inherited more. Will contests may be brought on various grounds, including a failure to follow formalities, fraud, and a later-executed will. If the will is overturned, the heirs may inherit the whole estate, which is why each will contest should be taken seriously.
You should most certainly find and hire an Atlanta probate litigation attorney when you start questioning what your loved one is doing or has done to their estates. Another situation when you may require legal help is when you are the trustee, and questions you are being asked about are for administering a will or estate.
Whether the situation was expected or not, our attorneys regularly help clients with estate litigation, disputes, and other probate matters, and we try our best to stop others from taking advantage of the estate. Reach out to our law firm; we are practicing in the Atlanta area and nearby cities.
How To Find Probate Attorneys In Atlanta GA
Finding Atlanta probate lawyers is not that difficult, but finding an excellent probate law firm can be a bit more of a challenge. For you to hire a law firm with a good probate attorney in Atlanta, GA, you need to have an idea of what you want, the type of law firm you want to represent you, the cost, and the time available to pursue your case.
Thankfully, if you are looking for a knowledgeable legal representative you can trust to handle your case, your search ends here. At The Law Office of Paul Black, we are dedicated to helping our probate clients meet their goals in the probate case, serving as a passionate advocate each step of the way. Call us now to request a free consultation and begin moving forward.
What Are Some of the Other Roles Atlanta GA Probate Lawyers Do For Their Clients?
Apart from following up on the wills left behind by the deceased, probate lawyers collect and manage the life insurance proceeds. They determine whether the estate owes any taxes and get the assets appraised. In addition, they find all the deceased’s assets, secure them, and manage checkbooks belonging to the estates. They also work to settle any bills and debts left behind.
Additional Practice Areas of Probate Attorneys in Atlanta GA
Probate is a complex and wide-reaching area of the law. As such, it often intersects with other practice areas. Below is an overview of a few of the related practice areas of our Atlanta probate lawyer.
Special Needs Planning
This involves people, in most cases children, who have certain disabilities and chronic diseases and who require more medical attention. Professional attorneys practicing special needs planning help such families who may wish to use their money to acquire special care as well as services and protect their special needs loved one when they are no longer around to provide for them.
This area of practice includes asset protection for long-term care such as in nursing homes for the elderly.
The area involves will and handling trust-based estate planning needs for individuals, families, and couples of all stages of life and backgrounds.
Best Probate Attorney In Atlanta Ga: The Law Office of Paul Black
The Law Office of Paul Black is an award-winning Georgia estate planning and probate law firm with years of experience that aims at providing the best possible services to clients across the state.
No matter what you are facing, our excellent services in estate planning and probate will leave you feeling secure about the future. Some of the practice areas that our law firm handles include estate planning, special needs planning, elder law, probate court, incapacity planning, and guardianships.
If you are facing a probate issue after a loved one’s death or any other disputes involving estate and elder law, do not hesitate to call us by phone today or send us an email and we will contact you as soon as possible to set up a free consultation. For further questions regarding Georgia probate and estate law, you can also choose to visit our offices at 2002 Summit Blvd, Suite 300 Atlanta, GA 30319 or One West Court Square, Suite 750 Decatur, GA 30030. Our team looks forward to assisting you.