Can you skip probate if you have a will?
This is a common question in our office, and today we’re going to get to the bottom of it.
My name is Erik Broel & I am the founder & CEO of Georgia Probate Law Group.
At our firm we help families who have lost a loved one navigate the complex and confusing legal process so they can make sure the estate is handled properly and their loved one’s memory is honored.
Is probate court only for estates that do not have a will?
Unfortunately, the simple answer is no.
In fact, the word probate literally means “to prove the will.”
Dealing with the question of whether a will is valid or not is actually one of the primary purposes of the probate court.
In each estate, the court must determine if the proposed will filed with the court is in fact the last will and testament of the deceased person.
To do that, the person filing the will must provide certain information to the court to prove the will is valid.
In addition, the court will send notices out to all heirs of the estate to allow them an opportunity to object if they feel the proposed will is not valid.
If an heir objects to the proposed will, then that starts the civil dispute process and a hearing will be held at a later time where the court will hear evidence and make a determination of whether the will is valid or not.
This legal process is designed to provide a check and balance to prevent fraud. (Imagine how many fake wills could appear if no court process was involved.)
Everything discussed in this article is for general information and is not legal advice.
If you are in a situation where you need help navigating the Georgia probate process, I recommend you reach out to our office at (770) 920-6030 to set up a consultation.
If you’re not quite ready for a consultation, be sure to download our Georgia Probate Handbook so you know how the estate is supposed to be handled.