Experienced Atlanta Probate Lawyer

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Streamline Your Estate Administration Process

In the weeks and months following your death, the last thing you want your loved ones to worry about is the often complex and emotional task of overseeing the estate administration process. Although setting your estate is necessary, working with a skilled probate lawyer can help streamline the process for your family after you are gone.

At Robert M. Goldberg & Associates, we have more than 20 years of experience helping individuals with all aspects of the estate administration process. From settling any outstanding debts to distributing remaining assets, our team is here to help you and your loved ones every step of the way. Contact our team today to request your consultation to learn more about how we can help you in the estate administration process.

Atlanta Probate Attorney

Our Atlanta Probate Lawyer Can Help You…

  • Manage life insurance proceeds
  • Get the decedent’s property appraised
  • Determine how to pay the decedent’s debts
  • Prepare documents required by the probate court
  • Manage the estate’s checkbook
  • Determine what taxes are owed, if any

Probate Lawyer in Atlanta

As your loved ones are mourning your passing, it may be difficult for them to maintain the perspective and mental clarity that is needed to ensure your estate is settled properly. The right probate lawyer can help your family members settle any remaining debts and distribute your remaining assets after you’re gone, regardless of whether you have a will or not.

If you need a reliable, experienced Atlanta probate lawyer who can guide you through the estate administration process, give Robert M. Goldberg & Associates a call. Our probate lawyer can help ensure that all matters related to your estate are settled properly, from helping your loved ones distribute your life insurance proceeds and property to ensuring all possible tax liabilities are identified and settled appropriately.

Is Probate Mandatory in Georgia?

Probate can be a lengthy and complicated process. Complex disputes can arise when dividing a deceased person’s property, which can cause significant strife among family members. For these reasons, people wonder whether they are required to go through probate in Georgia. 

Probate litigation is not always mandatory in the state of Georgia. In most cases, you and your family are only required to undergo this process if the deceased person only owned assets that were in his or her name. Assets that have other people listed as owners can likely be transferred to their new owners without undergoing probate.

The following assets are examples of properties that do not need to undergo probate.

  • Assets that the deceased person placed in a revocable living trust
  • Proceeds from life insurance policies, pensions, and other accounts that are payable to a specific, named beneficiary
  • Assets that the deceased person owned jointly with another person, which are passed to the other owner following his or her death
  • Assets for which a beneficiary has been named outside of the deceased person’s will, such as retirement accounts or bank accounts with payable-on-death terms

Additionally, there may be options to skip the probate process if your family’s situation meets conditions outlined in Georgia Code Section 53-2-1. The state will allow the estate to avoid probate as long as the following criteria are met.

  • All of the heirs are in agreement with the distribution plan.
  • All of the creditors are in agreement with the distribution plan.
  • The deceased person did not leave a will behind.

Do I Need a Probate Lawyer?

That is up to you. If your estate contains only common assets, such as a house, a bank account, or a vehicle, then you may not need the assistance of a probate lawyer to settle your estate.

However, there are other times when the assistance of a skilled probate lawyer can help the estate administration process go smoothly. You may consider requesting a consultation with our Atlanta probate lawyer if:

  • Your estate includes split assets or assets that are intangible
  • Your estate includes commercial property or a business that demands ongoing maintenance and handling
  • You have a large amount of debt or have a complicated tax situation
  • You are concerned your estate won’t qualify for simple administration procedures
  • You are concerned that someone may contest your will

Alternatively, if your loved one has recently passed away and you need help navigating through the probate process, a probate lawyer may be the best resource for making informed decisions related to settling the estate.

How Long Does the Probate Process Take in Georgia?

The length of probate litigation will depend on the complexity of your loved one’s case and the extent of his or her property and estate. Generally, probate can take anywhere between several months to several years to complete. 

However, every probate is different. It can be difficult to tell ahead of time how long the litigation will take. There are several factors that can influence your case’s timeline, such as the location of the executor, any will objections, and the extent of the deceased’s property.

It is important to consult with a law firm to guide you through probate litigation and help streamline the process. Contact the Atlanta probate attorney at Goldberg & Associates to discuss your loved one’s case.

The Executor’s Location

The executor is the person who is responsible for handling the probate process. If the executor lives far away from where the probate litigation is being held or out of the state of Georgia, there will be additional steps involved in the case. 

The executor will need to be confirmed as the executor by the judge, even if he or she is named in the will. If the executor does not want to travel to the appropriate court jurisdiction, the court may mail the necessary documents to his or her local judge. These steps can add a significant amount of time to the probate process.

Lots of Assets

One of the first steps in the probate process is the gathering of assets. The executor will need to locate, identify, and take possession of all of these assets. If the deceased held a significant amount of assets, or if these assets are difficult to track down, it could prolong the case.

An Objection to the Will

Many disputes can arise during the probate process. If a person files an objection to the will, the probate process will take longer. In Georgia, this objection is called a caveat. The probate process cannot continue until all caveats are resolved.

After someone files a caveat, a judge will need to schedule a hearing and hear arguments from the person who filed as well as the other heirs. Then, the judge will make a decision based on the facts presented to them.

Administrative Delays

Many probate proceedings take a year or longer to complete due to administrative delays. For example, estate planning documents may become lost. The courthouse may take a long time to process the appropriate paperwork. Financial institutions and title companies can fail to respond to family members in a timely manner.

Probate litigation often involves multiple court filings, and each set of documents will need to be reviewed, processed, and sent back to the appropriate parties. This can take a significant amount of time as well.

How Much Does Probate Cost in Georgia?

Probate costs depend on several factors, including the size and complexity of the estate, the county in which the litigation takes place, and whether anyone is filing a caveat. As a result, the average cost of probate in Georgia can fluctuate.

In total, the cost of probate in Georgia can range from $1,500 to $3,000 or higher. There are several costs associated with the probate process, such as the following.

  • Appraisal and Land Survey Fees: You may need to hire a professional to review your loved one’s assets and provide you with an estimated value. Many families seek professional appraisers and surveyors for assets like property, jewelry, and artwork.
  • Court and Filing Fees: You will also need to pay various court fees when filing your case in probate court. In Fulton County, these total costs can easily add up to $200 or more, depending on the complexity of your case.
  • Accounting Fees: Managing the math for probate can be very complicated, especially if you do not have an accounting background. You may want to hire an accountant to assist you in this process. Hourly accounting fees can vary based on the firm, but could range from $30 to $300.
  • Compensation for the Executor: The executor, or the person managing the probate, is usually entitled to a fee or a percentage of the probate estate. There are several laws in Georgia that govern this fee, which is usually capped at around 2%.
  • Attorney’s Fees: You may also need to pay for any legal services that you obtain for probate. Attorney’s fees can vary from law firm to law firm. Goldberg & Associates will carefully walk you through our fee structure and payment options to devise the most affordable plan for you.

Looking for an Experienced Probate Lawyer in Atlanta?

Plan ahead for your future and the future of your loved ones by turning to Robert M. Goldberg & Associates. We proudly offer probate lawyer services to help you feel confident in your estate plan. Contact us today to request a consultation.

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