After the death of a loved one, you deserve an attorney who understands your needs. When you choose Kathleen Womack Attorney at Law of Atlanta, Georgia, starting the probate process is easy. After reviewing the last will and testament, she assists you in navigating the legal details, including probate. Probate is the process by which property is transferred after the death of the owner.
Probate of Estates, Probate of Wills, Intestate Estates
If there is a last will and testament, the executor named in the will begins the probate process by filing a petition, along with the original will in the Probate Court of the county where the deceased person lived. Notice of the Petition's Filing to Probate the Will must be delivered to the deceased person's heirs at law, under Georgia state law. After appointment, the Executor is sworn to follow the fiduciary duties required of an Executor, which are to pay all debts of the deceased person from that deceased person's assets and to transfer property to the beneficiaries named in the Will.
If there is no Will, (Intestate Estate) the Probate Court appoints an Administrator who must follow the laws of the state of Georgia when distributing the property included in the deceased person's Estate.
Unless the Will contains a Self Proving Affidavit, it will be necessary to locate at least one of the witnesses to the Will and have them sign an affidavit attesting to fact that the legal requirements were followed when the Will was signed by the deceased person. This step will be required by the Probate Court before it will accept the Last Will & Testament for filing. Wills prepared by our office will contain the Self Proving Affidavit, and this additional step will not be necessary at the time of probate.
There are many assets that may not require probate and are not included in the Estate of the deceased person. Non Probate Assets include real estate owned as Joint Tenants With Rights of Survivorship, which will pass automatically to the surviving joint owner, and beneficiary designated assets such as life insurance and retirement plans. Also, jointly owned bank accounts and vehicles will pass to the survivor, without the need for probate administration. However, if you have not named a beneficiary on your life insurance or retirement plans, or if you have named your Estate as the beneficiary, then a probate proceeding will be required in order to transfer ownership of this property from the Estate to the beneficiaries named in the Will.
With a simple Will that has followed all of the required procedures and formalities, some estates can be administered and closed in as little as six months after opening. The time an estate is open depends on certain factors including the type of property owned, the beneficiaries designated, and whether the estate is subject to estate tax.
At the initial Probate consultation, Kathleen will help you sort through the legal issues involved with the loss of your loved one, answer all questions you may have concerning the Probate process, explain options you may have concerning property involved in handling the Estate, and help you prioritize your duties as Executor or Administrator of your loved one's Estate so that the process will not feel so overwhelming in your time of grief.
Kathleen Womack Attorney at Law offers a full level of legal services for the probate of an Estate as needed by the client, including advice and consultation on all steps involved in the probate process, preparation and filing of the Probate Petition, or the Petition for Administration in the event the person died without a will (Intestate) and dealing with the next of kin, heirs at law, and creditors of the deceased person.