Contested Wills in Albany, Georgia

Find the right Contested Wills attorney in Albany, GA

In Albany, Georgia, there is a process through which a person can challenge the validity of a will. This is identified as a "contested will" or "will contest."

Occasionally, testators leave out of their wills people who might naturally expect to inherit a substantial portion of the testator's estate (spouses and children, for instance). This might lead them to assume, truthfully or not, that the will was some kind of mistake.

If a considerable amount of money is involved, someone who was left out of a will, or not given what they were expecting, might believe that contesting the will is worth the time, money, and energy that doing so would require.

You should remember that a will contest frequently results in adversarial legal proceedings, which can be very combative. Considering the likelihood that other members of your family might be on the other side, it's clear that this can really damage a person's relationship with his or her family.

When Can a Will be Contested in Albany, Georgia?

A court in Albany, Georgia will not entertain a will contest unless there is a very good reason to do so. But, there are some allegations which, if shown, clearly invalidate a will.

One big reason to invalidate a will is the fact that the will was made under duress. "Duress" simply means forcing somebody to do something they don't want to, using some kind of threat. Typically, the threat involves some type of physical harm. The most obvious example would involve putting a gun to somebody's head and telling them to write a will containing the terms desired by the gunman. Such a will, assuming the underlying facts can be proven in court, will never be valid. Of course, the validity of a will rarely becomes an issue until the testator has died, which may be years after the will was drafted. This means that proving the circumstances under which the will was made can often be very difficult. However, there are certain facts, such as the devise being to an "unnatural" beneficiary (somebody the testator didn't know very well, for instance), and the beneficiary being in a position of power over the decedent, are enough to at least create a suspicion that something is wrong.

Because a testator must know what they are doing in order to write a valid will, the testator must be of sound mind at the time the will is made. Essentially, if a person is unaware of what they're doing, and the consequences of their actions, they can't make a legitimate will. This can be due to mental illness, or intoxication. Of course, if it's a result of intoxication, the testator can simply sober up and then make a perfectly valid will.

If the contest is successful, a court in Albany, Georgia might find the will or part of it invalid. Of course, that leaves the question of how to distribute the property in the absence of a valid will. All states have laws that address this situation, typically passing the property to the decedent's closest living kin. All states have laws governing the order in which property is passed on in this manner. Normally, it goes to the spouse first. If there is no living spouse, it goes to the children. If there are no children, it goes to the decedent's parents, and so on. Most laws on this subject are written in such a way that almost everyone will have at least one relative entitled to inherit, even if that person is very distantly related to the decedent. In the very rare case where no living relatives exist, or none can be found, the decedent's assets usually go to the state.

Can a Albany, Georgia Contested Will Attorney Help?

Because a will contest can sometimes involve difficult legal and factual questions, as well as some very raw emotions, a skilled Albany, Georgia attorney can be invaluable in helping this process go as smoothly as possible.

Talk to a Wills, Trusts and Estates Law Attorney now!

Life in Albany

Albany, Georgia is located in Dougherty County, where it also serves as the county seat. It has a population of well over 77,000 and is nicknamed "The Good Life City". Production and manufacturing fuel much of the city's economy, and its community life is marked by a number of unique events.

Economically speaking, Albany, Georgia is supported largely by the manufacturing, health care, transportation, education, and retail industries. Top employers for Albany residents include Procter Gamble, Teleperformance USA, MARS Snackfood US, and Thrush Aircraft. Despite Albany's extensive expansion, the city still retains its "Southern town" environment, with many areas still surrounded by pine trees, tree groves, and farmlands.

Residents of Albany enjoy a great number of events and recreation establishment, thus earning the city its nickname of The Good Life City. A few examples of popular Albany events are "Discovery Days", held at The Flint RiverQuarium, and a "Frontier Festival" held the wild animal park. Popular tourist attractions include the civic center, the municipal auditorium, and weekend events such as outdoor farmer's market. Much of the city's art scene revolves around singer Ray Charles, who hailed from Albany.

Lawyers in Albany, Georgia are trained to handle legal issues in a broad range of fields. Many Albany lawyers assist clients at the Dougherty Superior Court, located in Albany. The Superior Court oversees all other courts in the county and also maintains the Dougherty County Law Library.

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