We've written a free probate guide to explain the process and help you understand what needs to happen when a loved one passes away. Just submit your name and email address, and we'll send you the guide at no charge.
What's included in the guide?
- Explanation of the probate process. We describe probate and why it's required.
- Description of an “estate” for estate administration. Probate only manages property that is part of a deceased person's estate. We explain what that includes and what happens to property not part of the estate.
- Where to find probate laws. If you want to look up the statutes to understand the requirements on your own, this will get you started.
- Types of probate in Georgia. State law provides four types of probate in situations where the deceased person left a will, and additional options for situations where there is no will or the will is ruled to be invalid. We also discuss related proceedings, such as how to petition for financial support during the probate process.
- Responsibilities of executors and administrators. As fiduciaries, the people approved to serve in these roles have a great responsibility to manage all matters correctly and in the appropriate level of detail. Mistakes can make them personally liable. This is one reason executors and administrators hire experienced probate attorneys to guide them through the process.
- Steps to take after the death of a loved one. Even if you are not the executor or administrator, you can still help with many tasks to speed up the process.
- Reading and challenging a will. While the process of reading a will is not as dramatic as seen on TV, if there are fundamental problems with a will, the legal challenges may be contentious and emotional, although they must be based on solid legal grounds.
- What happens when someone dies without a will. Georgia statutes determine who manages the estate and who will receive the assets of a person who dies without a will. We discuss how that can play out.
- Claims from creditors. Some bills must be paid before others, particularly when there may be more claims than an estate is prepared to satisfy. We discuss how creditors secure their claims and how you need to handle them.
- Myths about the rights of spouses and children. People often assume they don't need to deal with probate when their spouse passes away because everything comes to them automatically. This is false. We discuss how spouses and children can secure their rights after the death of a loved one.
- How to know when you need a probate lawyer. Some situations can be very difficult to handle without an experienced probate lawyer, while in other situations, family members can manage on their own.
- Planning to avoid the probate process. With advance preparation, families can set matters up so that their assets never become part of an estate, and those assets can pass directly to loved ones without the need for the lengthy and costly probate process.
- Understanding court fees and professional fees. Probate administration and estate planning often include a variety of fees. We explain what these are and which ones may be negotiable.
- Choosing an attorney to assist. We provide some questions you can ask to find a legal professional you can work with.
- Helping your family. We discuss steps you can take to make matters easier for your family to handle in the future.
Our free Guide to Probate and Estate Administration can't cover every detail of every possible situation. Still, we provide the essential information to help you determine your next steps and assess whether you need to work with an attorney during the process.