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What if the will is contested during probate? Who has standing?

Perhaps you were appointed as the executor of a Georgia resident's estate. That person has died, and you have begun the probate process. Now, you hear that someone wants to contest the will. First, you need to know that not just anyone can file an objection to the last will and testament. The person filing the objection must somehow be affected by the current will.

Some Georgia residents have family members who may have received a share of the estate if there was no last will and testament. For example, if the decedent had two children, but only provided for one in the will, the other child may contest the will. In order for the will to be invalidated, that child would need to show that the deceased parent did not intentionally leave him or her out of the will. It will also be necessary to show that the will is not valid for some reason such as duress or incompetence.

The decedent may have redone his or her will prior to death. Anyone that was to receive an inheritance in the prior will who now does not receive anything may file a will contest. Again, it will be necessary to prove the new will invalid and that there was no intention to exclude the person making the objection.

These two categories may include numerous people. The court will decide whether the individual filing the objection to the will has legal standing to do so. If so, you could find yourself in a tricky legal battle. It may be beneficial to seek out the advice and assistance of a probate attorney as you attempt to complete your duties as executor to the best of your ability -- including defending the estate in a will contest.

Source:, "Who Can Contest a Will?", Julie Garber, Accessed on Aug. 27, 2017

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