What to Do When Someone Dies
Evans and Augusta, Georgia, Probate Lawyers
For people who have never had to settle the estate of a loved one, probate can be confusing: assets must be determined, debts assessed, and Wills and trusts carried out. At Shepard, Plunkett & Hamilton, LLP, our attorneys work with CPAs, accountants, and other tax experts in settle an estate through probate.
We can minimize time and confusion associated with calculating an estate's assets while reducing the stress associated with answering creditor inquiries and paying the decedent's bills. We understand families need time to make funeral arrangements and address family concerns.
In order to relieve our clients of the additional stress that accompanies the settlement of an estate, our probate lawyers prepare all necessary documents needed to complete the probate process.
Regardless of whether you're the adult child of a deceased parent or someone whose spouse has recently passed away without a will, contact a probate administration attorney at Shepard, Plunkett & Hamilton, LLP today.
What to Do If There Is No Will
When someone dies without a will, it is called an "intestate estate." The State of Georgia has laws called "intestacy laws" in place that lay out how the estate will be finalized. An administrator will be appointed, usually by the beneficiaries. The administrator will determine what assets the deceased had, pay any outstanding debts, and then distribute any remaining assets according to the intestacy laws.
If there is a will, an executor is generally named in the will itself. The executor is much like the administrator, does a thorough accounting of the estate, pays any debts, and distributes the remaining assets. Unlike the administrator, who follows the laws of intestacy, the executor's job it is to carry out the terms of the will.
Regardless of whether an administrator or executor is appointed, it's not uncommon for disputes to arise during probate. Grounds for estate litigation may arise when heirs disagree over who has authority to act as executor/administrator, or when the executor/administrator makes a controversial decision regarding the deceased's assets or debts. Our attorneys represent executors/administrators and heirs when disputes arise during the probate process.
Undue Influence and Mental Competency - Contested Wills
When an elderly person suffering from Alzheimer's, dementia, or Parkinson's disease dies, relatives may question whether or not the deceased's will is legitimate if changes were made to it in the months or years leading up to the person's death.
In most cases involving allegations of undue influence, evidence must be provided indicating the deceased was manipulated or had property and assets stolen from them by a crooked relative, friend, caretaker, or neighbor.
Additionally, if bank accounts are emptied through an unauthorized transfer by power of attorney, it's very difficult to recover money assets once they've been transferred. If undue influence involves the illegitimate transfer of a home or other real property, contesting a will is likely to be more successful.
To schedule an appointment and discuss how we can help you, contact Shepard, Plunkett & Hamilton, LLP today.
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