The Probate process is the sole means to authenticate a person’s Will, empower an executor to distribute property, and allow family members and other heirs to protect their legal rights. Whether you are drafting a Will, have recently learned that you have been nominated as an executor, or are considering taking legal action to protect your rights as an heir, understanding the Probate process in Marietta is essential.
Our experienced attorneys at Nelson Elder Care Law can explain what happens during each stage of the Probate process. We can also assist executors in understanding their duties and obligations under the law and aim to guide all parties through this complicated process.
Probate can only occur after a person dies. In addition, Probate is never automatic, and courts will never initiate the process on their own. Instead, state law says that an interested party must submit a formal application to the court that requests initiation of Probate. According to the Official Code of Georgia Annotated § 53-5-2, a person who is nominated as the executor of a decedent’s Estate has the sole authority to submit this petition after their loved one’s death. However, if this party fails to come forward, others who have an interest in the Estate may submit a petition.
This petition is the vital first step in initiating the Probate process in Marietta. It must contain information about the deceased and why the court has jurisdiction to hear the case. It must also provide information about the deceased’s property and surviving family members. Finally, the executor or other party submitting the petition must attach a copy of the Will for the court’s evaluation.
The main purpose of Probate is to ensure that your property goes to the correct parties after their death. To determine the rights of heirs, the court must evaluate and authenticate the Will. Under state law, if a Will is in writing, contains the signature of the testator, and includes the signatures of two witnesses, the document is considered valid. However, any interested party has the right to challenge the legality of the Will.
Once a court addresses these concerns, it will appoint an executor for the Estate. Under most circumstances, this will be a person nominated in the Will. However, the court may appoint any individual or organization with the capacity to serve in this role to the position.
The executor is solely responsible for distributing property. The first claimants are people or companies to whom the deceased owed money. It is only when these debts are paid that the heirs receive their assets according to the terms of the Will.
At every step of the way, the executor must make reports to the court. If heirs believe that an executor has acted inappropriately, they may ask a court to further review the case or demand that the executor be removed from the position. At the conclusion of the distribution of assets, the Probate process in Marietta comes to a close.
Probate serves as a means to authenticate a will, determine the property rights of heirs, and oversee the actions of executors. Once Probate begins, the court will oversee the executor’s actions and may act to protect the rights of heirs.
Our compassionate attorneys at Nelson Elder Care Law can help guide you through the Probate process in Marietta. Whether you are a nominated executor or are looking to protect your legal rights as an heir, we are ready to help you.
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