Probate Process and Probate Disputes

Georgia Probate Attorneys

Regardless of where you live in the United States, our litigation attorneys can represent you in Georgia probate disputes, will contests, claims involving a breach of fiduciary duty by a personal representative, or claims for fraud, concealment or self-dealing associated with the administration of a probate estate in Georgia. In some cases, a personal representative needs protection from the unreasonable demands of a claimed beneficiary or assistance with the defense of claims for alleged mismanagement of probate assets. For further information about our ability to represent your interest effectively in probate estate cases and in probate court in Georgia, contact the litigation attorneys at Aitkens & Aitkens, P.C.

Probate Process

The loss of a loved one can be an anxious, difficult and emotionally trying experience. Often, your family may need to address a number of legal issues and concerns during the related probate process. A will of the deceased and the probate process are designed to insure that the testator’s final wishes are carried out in both the division of his or her assets and the payment of creditors of the estate in compliance with Georgia law. The probate court is often the first court visited by a personal representative and is the forum to probate a will. Our attorneys’ knowledge of the probate process allow them to provide helpful and useful legal advice needed to guide your family through the probate process as quickly and easily as possible. Mr. Aitkens has over 35 years of probate experience, Ms. Aitkens has over 28 years of legal experience and, unfortunately, has assisted in the probate process in connection with several of her immediate family members. She understands the emotional difficulty involved in the process.

Probate Disputes

If a deceased mother, father, sister, brother or other person has left a will for probate in Georgia and you need legal assistance addressing either the probate of the will or a dispute concerning the interpretation of the will, the administration of the estate pursuant to the will, or any other issue associated with the will or a probate estate of a decedent residing in Georgia on the date of death, the litigation attorneys at Aitkens & Aitkens, P.C. can represent your interests and attempt to secure your appropriate share of the estate. Our litigation attorneys represent will beneficiaries and their living lineal descendants and yet have significant experience in representing executors, administrators, personal representatives and trustees in estate, will and trust disputes.

Probate Estate and Probate Assets

The probate estate consists of the assets of the testator that are subject to the control of his or her will. Non-probate assets often include life insurance, investment accounts, joint bank accounts, joint certificates of deposit and other assets possessed or owned by the deceased that are controlled by contract under Georgia or other law. Our attorneys can provide assistance in assessing and marshaling probate estate assets, probating a will and efficient handling and administration of assets, whether or not they are probate assets or to be handled independent of the probate process.

Probate Beneficiaries

The personal representative must qualify to act as executor of a will generally by filing a petition to probate the will in solemn or common form in the probate court where the decedent lived. The executor will obtain letters testamentary authorizing the executor to administer the probate estate. The executor has a responsibility to the beneficiaries to marshal the assets of the probate estate and distribute the probate assets to the probate beneficiaries in accordance with the will. The beneficiaries under the will have a right to demand that such personal representative comply with the terms of the will and Georgia law in fulfilling his or her duties as executor of the probate estate. Claims made by the beneficiaries against a deviant executor are filed in the probate court. Further, in the event any of the heirs at law of the deceased object to the probate of a will, a caveat (objection) is filed in the probate court. Our law firm has extensive experience in both filing caveats to wills, defending caveats, and assisting personal representatives in the probate of estates. The probate beneficiaries have both enforceable rights pursuant to a probated will and as identified in the Revised Probate Code of 1998 and applicable Georgia case law.

Probate Bank Accounts and Investments

The probate process generally requires the personal representative to establish an independent estate bank account for the estate of a deceased, to manage receipts and disbursements, and to marshal probate assets. Georgia law identifies that the personal representative shall exercise the judgment and care, under the circumstances then prevailing, which persons of prudence, discretion, and intelligence exercise in the management of their own affairs, not in regard to speculation but in regard to the permanent disposition of their funds, considering the probable income as well as the probable safety of their capital. Although a will may contain a provision regarding the management and investment of probate assets, a personal representative should invest only in specific statutorily described investments or otherwise comply with the above standard. Our law firm is experienced in both guiding personal representatives in these financial matters and in filing claims for improper management of probate assets.