Contested Wills in Smyrna, Georgia

Find the right Contested Wills attorney in Smyrna, GA

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

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

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

Bringing legal action against anyone, let alone a family member, is not a decision that you should rush into. Contesting a will, especially if another family member stands to lose out if you are successful in the contest, can permanently alter or even destroy family relationships. Obviously, this is something to consider.

When Can a Will be Contested in Smyrna, Georgia?

A court in Smyrna, 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.

For example, if the will was obtained through duress (threat of some kind of harm), then it is invalid. Duress, however, is difficult to prove. If a named beneficiary was in some position of power or trust with the decedent, and is not someone who one would ordinarily expect to get a large gift in a will, that might raise substantial initial suspicion of something improper happening. Of course, those facts alone are not nearly enough to prove duress.

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 Smyrna, 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 typically happen during a person's life. Typically, 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 Smyrna, Georgia Contested Will Attorney Help?

Because a will contest can sometimes involve complicated legal and factual questions, as well as some very raw emotions, a skilled Smyrna, 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 Smyrna

Located just 10 miles from the state capital of Atlanta, Smyrna Georgia is a city with lots of Southern charm. Smyrna was incorporated in 1872 and is appropriately nicknamed, "Jonquil City" for the many jonquils that bloom naturally in the city's parks and streets during the spring blossom.

Smyrna has a population of 47,000 residents. Smyrna has over 304 acres of parks and open spaces within the city's 15 square miles-- a fact that promotes its residents outdoor activity. The Village Green is the hub of the city and is the "common area" of Smyrna housing the library, civic center, and community center.

The Market Village is an expansive downtown development in the city that has retail, restaurants, and housing for many of Smyrna residents to enjoy. Smyrna is also a popular sport for Atlanta workers to live in and enjoy the perks and space of a suburb. Smyrna is just a fifteen minute drive to downtown Atlanta.

Smyrna has many lawyers that help contribute to the growth and development of the city. Lawyers with a range of specialties to help their fellow citizens with any issue they may find themselves dealing with. Smyrna lawyers are in good company with local doctors, accountants, and other professionals creating a great professional community.

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