Contested Wills in Athens, Georgia

Find the right Contested Wills attorney in Athens, GA

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

Occasionally, 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 instance). This might lead them to assume, truthfully or not, that the will was some kind of mistake.

If a large amount of money or property is being given away, the person left out of the will could rationally conclude that the cost and time of a court challenge is worth it.

Nonetheless, this is a matter that should not be approached lightly - will contests can often foster strife and infighting within families who are already mourning the loss of a loved one. This can permanently damage or alter family relationships.

When Can a Will be Contested in Athens, Georgia?

There are various reasons that a Athens, Georgia court might hold a will to be invalid.

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.

Another reason why a will might be invalid is the maker of the will being mentally incompetent at the time the will was made. In order to make a legitimate will, the individual making it must have enough of his or her mental faculties to understand what they're doing, and the consequences of it.

If you successfully contest the will in Athens, 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 Athens, Georgia Contested Will Attorney Help?

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

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

Life in Athens

Athens, Georgia has a population of over 115,000 people and is located in the northeastern region of the state. Athens is actually a consolidated city-county, created by combing Clarke County and the city of Athens itself (also the county seat). Athens Is known for being home to the University of Georgia and is considered by many to be a premiere example of a college town.

As a college town, the student life drives much of Athens' social, intellectual, and cultural scene. In particular, music has always been a central tenet of life in Athens. Many restaurants, bars, and local establishments cater to the music scene and help to further the creative legacy of the city. Famous musical figures from Athens have included: R.E.M., the Indigo Girls, the Primates, and the Athens Boys Choir. The city hosts AthFest, which is an art and music festival held every summer.

Other popular events and attractions in Athens, Georgia include Naturalists' Walks, Contra Dance at Memorial Park, and the Twilight Series bicycle races held each spring. Some of the nation's most outstanding bar and grills are also located in Athens. Alongside its modern establishments, an abundance of American historical artifacts can also be found in the city.

Lawyers in Athens, Georgia often assist their clients at the Athens-Clarke County Superior Court. The Superior Court is located in the city and process a wide range of legal claims. Many Athens lawyers spend time researching legal inquiries at the Athens-Clarke County Law Library.

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