A caveat, in probate law terms, means to challenge the validity of a will.
When someone files a petition to probate a will, that person is asking the probate court to confirm that the will presented to the court is in fact the last will and testament of the deceased. Under Georgia probate law, all of the deceased’s legal heirs must be notified of the petition (unless it is a special type of petition called “common form”, which is a topic for another time).
The legal heirs are the people who would inherit the deceased’s property if the deceased did not have a will. The beneficiaries, on the other hand, are the people who inherit the deceased’s property under the terms of a valid will. So, sometimes, like the case above, the heirs will attempt to challenge or caveat the will to prove that it is invalid. If the heirs are successful, then they will inherit the estate.
In Georgia, a caveat can put an estate on hold for a while. Depending on the county where the estate is pending, the discovery period alone can cause a two to six month delay while all interested parties are given the chance to develop their evidence. After the discovery period ends, the probate court will usually hold a hearing to determine the validity of the will. The outcome of that hearing will determine who will inherit the estate (the heirs or beneficiaries) and who will control and manage the estate.
Prosecuting or defending a caveat is very complicated. If you find yourself in a position where you need to challenge or defend a will, contact our office to set up a consultation.
Disclaimer: The information above is provided for general information only and should not be considered legal advice. Our probate lawyers provide legal advice to our clients after talking about the specific circumstances of the client’s situation. Our law firm cannot give you legal advice unless we understand your situation by talking with you. Please contact our law office to receive specific information about your situation.