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Keep estate administration and probate from getting ugly

Nearly every Georgia family has its issues. If those issues carry over into the estate administration and probate process, it could get ugly. There are ways to limit this possibility, depending on how an estate plan is structured.

Failing to have even a will is one of the quickest ways for surviving family members to end up in court. Of course, it is necessary to file a probate even with a will, but without one, the state of Georgia decides who inherits the decedent's property, and that can cause major problems. A will can help limit any potential conflicts, but depending on its provisions, someone might believe there is reason to question it.

Usually, surviving family members who did not receive the inheritance they expected consider contesting the will. Even though an individual is not required to provide an explanation regarding why things were done a certain way, it could help avoid problems later. A provision in the will barring the receipt of an inheritance to anyone who contests the will could also prevent litigation. Putting the assets into trusts so that they avoid the probate process all together is another option.

The bottom line is that Georgia residents have multiple ways to help avoid conflicts during the estate administration and probate process. Estate planning provides numerous options for individuals, and the documents can be tailored to their needs and wishes. Just be sure that the documents are drafted and executed in accordance with current law because if they are not, all that planning could be wasted. It would be advantageous for an individual to share his or her concerns with an attorney who can help ensure that the documents will stand up to the scrutiny of the court.

Source: U.S. News and World Report, "Will Your Heirs End Up in Probate Court?", Maryalene LaPonsie, Jan. 27, 2017

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