The Probate Process in Georgia
Probate of wills is usually not an expensive or time-consuming process in Georgia, where the Will has been prepared by an attorney with experience in Will drafting. In our firm, we have been preparing Wills for clients for over twenty-five years.
In Georgia, there is no state tax on “probate assets” as in Florida and many states in the Northeast.
The preparation of a well drafted Will and the execution of the Will under the supervision of a lawyer with experience in estate planning is also perhaps the best defense of your estate. Our firm has handled the probate of hundreds of wills for a quarter of a century. We offer individual attention to your probate matter for a family member or loved one.
Most estate probate proceedings can be completed within 6 to 9 months and legal fees rarely exceed $3,000 if the Will has been properly prepared and executed. Allow our firm to work with your family upon the passing of a loved one. Now with the concept of “portability” introduced by the American Taxpayer Relief Tax Act of 2012 (ATRA), proper probate of an estate and the filing of a proper Estate Tax Return is more important than ever. Executors need proper legal guidance more than ever.
The probate process for a Will executed by the decedent usually beginning with the preparation and filing of a Petition to Probate in Solemn Form. The Petition to Probate in Solemn Form is the mechanism by which the Court determines if the Will offered for Probate is a legally valid Last Will and Testament of the decedent and executed by the decedent with appropriate formalities, and without undue influence on the decedent’s mental capabilities at the time. Upon approval of the Petition to Probate by the Probate Court, the individual named as the Executor is issued “Letters Testamentary” and thereby vested as the “legal representative of the estate of the decedent. Once the named Executor is officially appointed by the Court as the legal representative of the estate, the Executor begins the process of “administering the estate”. This process involves collecting assets of the estate, paying or otherwise resolving claims against the estate, filing tax returns, and distribution the assets of the estate to the named beneficiaries under the Will. The probate process is usually concluded by filing a Petition for Discharge whereby the Executor represents to the Probate Court that his duties have been completed and the Executor is formally discharged of his duties and relieved of any liability by the Court.
It is important that a named Executor utilize the services of an attorney, and frequent an Accountant to complete ALL steps in the Probate process.