Contested Wills in Alpharetta, Georgia

Find the right Contested Wills attorney in Alpharetta, GA

In Alpharetta, Georgia, there is a procedure through which a person can challenge the validity of a will. This is known as a "contested will" or "will contest."

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

If a large 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 often results in adversarial legal proceedings, which can be very contentious. 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 Alpharetta, Georgia?

A court in Alpharetta, Georgia will not entertain a will contest unless there is a very good reason to do so. However, there are some allegations which, if proven, 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. Usually, 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. Basically, if a person is unaware of what they're doing, and the consequences of their actions, they can't make a valid 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 you successfully contest the will in Alpharetta, Georgia, the court will likely distribute the property as if the decedent had died without a will. This usually involves giving it to the closest living relative. While the exact intestacy schemes (the order in which property is distributed to relatives) vary from state to state, they are usually pretty similar. If possible, the property will go to the decedent's spouse, and if the decedent has any minor children with that spouse, it is with the understanding that the money will be used primarily for their care. If the decedent did not have children or a spouse (or outlived them), the property typically goes to the decedent's parents. If neither of them are alive, it goes to grand children, grandparents, or siblings. After that, it typically goes to cousins, nieces/nephews, step-children, former spouses, etc. Intestacy laws provide a line of succession long enough that just about anyone will leave at least one person behind who is entitled to inherit from them, even if they're an extremely distant relation. Sometimes, however, people make multiple wills, to account for the many personal and financial changes that usually happen during a person's life. Usually, the most recent will purports to revoke all past wills, to avoid any conflict between them. In such cases, if a will is entirely invalidated, a court can sometimes revive the second most recent will.

Can a Alpharetta, Georgia Contested Will Attorney Help?

Contesting a will is often difficult, and never fun. However, the whole process can be made more bearable if you have the help of a qualified Alpharetta, Georgia attorney, and the process will probably be much more manageable.

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

Life in Alpharetta

Alpharetta, Georgia is a medium-sized city in Fulton County. It has a population of approximately 65,000 residents, and is known for being one of the most affluent cities in Georgia. It is also home to a huge number of businesses, for a city its size. During the workweek, employees of these businesses commute to the city, and its population balloons to over 120,000 people.

The huge number of employers Alpharetta, Georgia means that Alpharetta, Georgia lawyers are kept busy. Because of this large number of employers, the economy of Alpharetta, Georgia is quite vibrant, and while not untouched by the recent recession, endured it better than many other places in the U.S.

For this reason, Forbes Magazine, in 2009, named Alpharetta, Georgia as the #1 "reloville" in the U.S. By this, they mean it is one of the best places for professionals to relocate to in order to improve their economic situation. Perhaps testifying to this fact, about 70% of this city's residents were born someplace else.

Of course, where there are many businesses, there are going to be a lot of lawyers.

Alpharetta, Georgia lawyers are experienced in a wide variety of legal areas. In a thriving community such as Alpharetta, they have to be if they wish to state competitive.

Accordingly, if you need to hire an Alpharetta, Georgia lawyer, you probably won't have much trouble finding one who can handle your legal issue, at an agreeable price.

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