Probate Lawyer, Atlanta: Your Trusted Legal Advisor


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Author: Stan Faulkner, Founder, Perigon Legal Services, LLC

Mr. Faulkner is an experienced counselor and litigator with 15 years of experience, having held bar licenses in four states (Mo, Il, Ct and Ga). Stan Faulkner uses this experience and focuses his skills in the pursuit of assisting individuals in probate (trust and estate) matters, guardianships and conservatorships, and other estate planning matters. Published on May 12, 2023.

Perigon Legal Services is a law firm specializing in probate law in Atlanta, Georgia. Our Probate Lawyer in Atlanta might help with the probate process.

Mr. Faulkner is an experienced counselor and litigator with 15 years of experience, having held bar licenses in four states (Mo, Il, Ct, and Ga). Stan Faulkner uses this experience and focuses his skills in the pursuit of assisting individuals in probate (trust and estate) matters, guardianships and conservatorships, and other estate planning matters.

As Benjamin Franklin said, ‘Nothing is certain except death and taxes. ‘This is still true today. Despite how traumatic losing a loved one may be, taxes need to be paid.

During this challenging time, the last thing you want to do is deal with a deceased person’s estate. It almost seems as if you are relegating the dead to mere objects.

Probate is the legal process by which a person’s assets are distributed after death. The entire process includes the court-supervised transfer of a deceased person’s assets to their beneficiaries and the payment of any outstanding debts or taxes.

Estate administration involves the management of a person’s assets and affairs after their death. This includes identifying, valuing, and distributing the deceased person’s assets, paying debts and taxes, and transferring property to the designated beneficiaries or heirs.

The process of probating and administering an estate can be time-consuming and complex. While Georgia estate law offers a more affordable alternative, it can be overbearing and confusing.

It is essential to use an experienced estate lawyer to ensure that your loved one’s assets are distributed according to their wishes and in compliance with Georgia’s probate laws.

The Probate Process

Probate involves several steps, including the following:

  1. Filing the will with the probate court.
  2. Petitioning the court to start the probate process.
  3. Notifying all interested parties, such as heirs, beneficiaries, and creditors, of the probate case.
  4. Taking an inventory of the deceased person’s assets and debts.
  5. Paying any outstanding debts and taxes owed by the estate.
  6. Distributing the remaining assets according to the deceased person’s will or, if there is no will, according to state law.
  7. Closing the probate case once all the assets have been distributed, and all debts and taxes have been paid.

The probate process can be complicated with all the steps involved. Proper estate planning helps your loved ones navigate the probate process more easily. Schedule a consultation with skilled Atlanta probate attorneys from Perigon Legal Services.

Types of Probate in Atlanta

Atlanta, GA, the law recognizes several types of probate designed to suit different circumstances that may arise following the death of a person. Here are the main types:

  1. Solemn Form Probate: This process requires that all the heirs are notified in advance, allowing them to object to the will if they wish.
  2. Common Form Probate: This does not require advance notice to the heirs. However, the probate can be challenged within four years after the will is admitted to common form probate.
  3. No Probate: This applies to cases where the deceased doesn’t leave the property behind.


Probate Timeline

The probate timeline in Atlanta, GA, can vary widely based on the complexity of the estate, the type of probate, and whether any disputes arise during the process. In general, the timeframes could be:

  1. Petition for probate can take a few weeks as it needs you to prepare documents required by the court.
  2. Georgia law requires a minimum notice period of 60 days for heirs and creditors.
  3. Administering the estate, which involves gathering and valuing assets, paying debts and taxes, and distributing the remaining assets according to will, can take several months or years.
  4. Once all the steps are completed, the executor can petition the court to close the estate, which can take a few weeks or months.

How Long Does Probate Take in Atlanta?

A simple, uncontested probate case could take six months to a year. However, if the matter is contested or becomes complex, it could take years to finalize.

In probate and estate litigation, there may be questions about the will’s validity, which can delay the resolution of the case.

Seeking help from Atlanta probate lawyers early on is a good idea if the matter is complicated or contested, especially if you suspect further probate proceedings may be necessary. Georgia probate process could be complex. A skilled probate lawyer with experience in probate and estate administration, probate litigation, and a better understanding of probate law can help. 


How Much Does a Lawyer Charge to Probate a Will in Georgia?

Because every probate case is different, just as every deceased estate is unique and requires a different approach, it can be very challenging to accurately estimate the charges to handle a probate case.

Some probates are contested, and some become highly litigious, dragging on for years and costing a lot of money. Others are uncontested and can be wrapped up in under a year for a reasonable fee.

In either case, you must consult with an experienced Atlanta probate attorney to determine the cost and timeframe of your case.


Do I Need a Probate Lawyer in Georgia?

The law of Georgia does not require you to use a lawyer for probate; indeed, if the probate is straightforward, you may be able to handle it independently without a lawyer. Sometimes, a probate court facilitator can assist the family members with the estate administration.

Hiring an Atlanta probate lawyer with the required skill and experience is best in litigation, contested wills, or complex cases.


How Long Do You Have to File Probate After Death in Georgia?

Georgia law does not stipulate a timeframe. It is, however, a good idea to file the probate as soon as possible without unnecessary delay.

Until you have filed, you cannot do the following until a probate petition has been filed:

  • Transfer real estate owned by the deceased individual.

  • Access funds in the deceased’s bank account or investment account unless the account was a beneficiary account.

  • Pursue a wrongful death claim.

Probate attorneys can ensure your petition is filed in good time so you don’t experience further inconvenience.


What Assets Are Exempt From Probate in Georgia?

Some assets are exempt from probate and can be transferred directly to beneficiaries without going through the probate process. These assets include:

  1. Assets held in a joint tenancy with the right of survivorship. If one owner dies, the other owner receives the deceased owner’s interest in the property.
  2. 401(k)s, IRAs, pensions, and other retirement funds: Retirement funds typically allow account holders to name beneficiaries who will inherit the assets directly.
  3. Life insurance policies: Policyholders typically name beneficiaries directly receiving the life insurance proceeds.
  4. Bank accounts with beneficiaries: Payable on death (POD) designations do not go through probate. Also, a transfer on death (TOD) designation makes real estate or vehicles non-probate property.
  5. Small estates valued at less than $100,000: These could be transferred using a simplified probate process or through an affidavit of a small estate.

Why Hire a Probate Lawyer?

Hiring an experienced probate lawyer can save time, money, and stress during this difficult time. A probate lawyer can help you navigate the complex legal process, ensuring that all necessary steps are taken and deadlines are met. They can also provide expert advice on matters such as estate taxes and asset distribution, helping to avoid disputes among family members.

Additionally, legal counsel can protect the estate’s personal representative (also known as executor or administrator) from liability in case of any mistakes made during the probate process. This can provide peace of mind and ensure the estate is handled correctly.

If you are facing probate in Georgia, it is highly recommended to seek the guidance of an experienced probate lawyer who can help guide you through this process confidently and efficiently. They can also assist with other related legal matters, such as creating a comprehensive estate plan to ensure your assets are distributed according to your wishes.

With the right legal counsel, you can be confident that your probate case will be handled smoothly and efficiently, allowing you to focus on what truly matters during this difficult time. So don’t hesitate to contact a reputable law office specializing in probate services for help with your Georgia estate plan.

How Perigon Legal Services Can Assist You

Atlanta clients can rely on Perigon Legal Services to provide the services of highly qualified, experienced, and professional Estate Planning Lawyers. We are familiar with all aspects of Georgia estate planning, including drafting Wills and trusts and assisting with guardianship or conservatorship procedures. We can assess your health care and monetary matters and determine issues that may require litigation.

Other than these, our estate planning services include probate and estate administration and we help our clients understand how to handle contested probate.

Whether you need help planning your estate or accessing your probate records, our probate attorneys in Atlanta, GA, are available for a free consultation. Let our empathic and skilled probate attorneys assist you today.

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