A Georgia will contest lawyer can be the person who can advise you about your rights if you believe that a will is invalid after it has been admitted to probate. Furthermore, a will contest lawyer in Georgia can walk you through the process if you are a beneficiary to the current version of the will as submitted through probate and believe that a contest is only going to slow down the estate administration. Parties on both sides of a Georgia will contest should educate themselves by retaining an experienced and knowledgeable attorney so that they understand the role that they play.
Reasons a Will Can Be Challenged in Georgia
The discovery that assets will not be passing to beneficiaries who expected it can be an unwelcome one but this does not always mean that it is illegal. The most common probate disputes associated with validity of a will have to do with allegations of a lack of capacity, improper execution, fraud, undue influence, or the existence of a will that was executed after the one that has been submitted to probate. In Georgia, the provision regarding executing a valid will are found in GA Code § 53-4-20.
The litigation of matters associated with challenging the validity of a will can become very complex and can make things difficult for family members who are now unable to come to terms with the fact that they are on different pages about how the will should be interpreted. You need the services of an experienced will contest attorney in Georgia to support you and prepare you for each stage of the case no matter what it looks like.
Fraud. A will can be subject to being updated in an illegal and fraudulent manner. This can include pages being removed, altered, switched or reinserted. In other cases an entire will could be forged with the testator’s signature or a notary public signature. Any of these circumstances can lead to challenging the validity of a will. At the time that a will is executed, the creator should be fully informed of information, circumstances and facts associated with the matters inside their will. If they signed based on lack of information or misinformation, this could become the basis of a will validity claim over fraud.
Lack of Testamentary Capacity. In order to create a will, the person must be over age 18 and have the mental capacity to understand what they are doing. Someone who has advanced mental illness, dementia, drug related impairments or Alzheimer’s may not eb of sound mind at the time of execution. This means that the entire document can be challenged by an interested party.
Undue Influence. Perhaps some of the most devastating probate dispute cases have to do with when the family learns that a recent friend, romantic partner or caregiver has been given a substantial portion of the estate which deviates from a previous will. This raises questions about whether or not this other person took advantage of the testator and coerced them into executing a will that gives them control or rights. The will’s validity is subject to being contested in these cases.
Breach of Fiduciary Duty. Other types of probate disputes can relate to the role played by an administrator and an executor or a personal representative. These parties have a legal obligation to act in the best interests of the heirs. Fiduciaries cannot administer the estate without their own self-interest in mind but a breach of fiduciary duty claim can emerge if beneficiaries realize that this has happened.
In all of these cases it benefits you to have the support of an attorney who has worked through cases like this before and will advise you about your rights and keep you up to date as the cases proceed through the courts. No one should have to go through this situation alone and the complex issues at hand leave too much room for error. Educate yourself and equip yourself with the necessary protections.