Dealing with the death of a loved one is difficult enough. When it comes to handling their affairs after they are gone, it can make it even more difficult. If you are the next of kin or listed as the executor of the estate, you may find yourself handling all the financial and legal aspects of their passing, rather than processing your own grief.
Probate is the legal process of authenticating a last will and testament if one exists. It includes locating and determining the value of the decedent’s assets, paying their final bills and taxes, and then distributing the remainder of the estate to their beneficiaries.
Navigating the probate process in Georgia can be intimidating, especially if it is your loved one who is recently deceased. With our extensive experience as probate attorneys, we can guide you through the process and will do so with compassion and support.
Does the will have to be authenticated?
Once a person has died, it must be proven that the will is current and valid, and that it was not signed under duress. If legal changes have occurred since a will was established — such as getting married, divorced, having children, or the executor or beneficiaries have died — they can potentially render the will invalid. The person who is in possession of the will at the time of death is responsible for filing it with the probate court as soon as possible.
How do I file a will with the probate court?
An application or petition must be filed, and will be the first in a long list of steps that your probate attorney can assist you with. In determining the validity of the will, there may be a court hearing to allow all beneficiaries and heirs to attend and be heard. A beneficiary is a person or entity who receives a profit, advantage, or benefit, while an heir is someone who would inherit something by default.