The death of a loved one is a difficult time. All too often, insult is added to injury by a personal representative (Executor or Administrator), heir, or beneficiary who is unwilling or unable to follow the will, the law of heirship (dissent and distribution) or the law of administration of estates. Many times the hurt and distrust caused by lawsuits among family members can be avoided by a knowledgeable attorney. David seeks to reconcile families, whenever possible.
Unfortunately, sometimes litigation is necessary to do justice and carry out the deceased’s wishes. David has many years of experience handling estate cases.
- What if there is no will? The laws of estates provide for the distribution of the assets of a deceased when they have no will. This is called the law of intestate succession or the laws of descent and distribution. In Georgia, if there is no will, an interested person may qualify as an administrator. Once qualified, the administrator must collect the assets, pay the debts, and distribute the property according to the law. The law sets out very specific guidelines for administrators to follow. However, some of the legal requirements may be waived.
- Is the Will valid? Wills are usually attacked for one of the following reasons:
a. The Will was not signed with proper formalities. The law has very stringent formalities for the execution of the will. If the will is not executed both by the testator and the witnesses as the law requires, the Will may be thrown out by the court. This is one reason why people should never draft or execute their own will even if they find a form on the internet.
b. The testator does not have the requisite mental capacity.
c. Someone exercised undue influence over the testator.
- Is the executor or the administrator properly administering the estate? That depends on many factors such as:
a. Whether and to what degree the testator relieved the executor of certain duties;
b. Whether the heirs or beneficiaries agree to waive certain protections given to them by law; and
c. The status of any bond posted for the good conduct of the executor or administrator.
d. Whether the personal representative is guilty of self dealing.
Schedule a consultation
To schedule a consultation with attorney David J. Blevins, call 706-671-2615 or contact us online.