Answers to Common Questions and Situations

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Life Partners & Probate.

How does it work when you have a life partner who passes away?  How much control will you have over the estate?  Will you inherit their property? We will answer those questions and more in this post.

Life Partners & ProbateMy 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. Everything discussed in this post is for general information and is not legal advice – for specific information about your situation, please go here to request a complimentary consultation with one of our inheritance lawyers.

When someone passes away, there is often no one who is more affected than a long term life partner.  That said, the surviving life partner’s role in the estate depends on a few factors.  We will look at two of the most important factors in this video:  first, whether there is a will.  And, second, whether there is a valid marriage.  These are important factors because unless there is a valid Will or a valid marriage, a life partner will normally not have much control over the Estate and will usually not inherit anything.

Is there a valid Will?

The first factor to consider is whether the deceased left a valid Last Will and Testament.  If they did, then the Will will control the situation.  That means that the nominated Executor (whoever that person may be) will be first in line to manage the estate.  It also means that the directions given in the Will for how to handle the deceased’s property will be followed.

Is there a valid marriage?

The second factor is to determine whether there is a valid marriage.  The obvious first question is whether the life partners were ever formally married in any state.  If so, then the marriage will be recognized and respected in Georgia.  If there was no formal marriage, however, then the next step is to look into whether a common law marriage may have arisen in any state that the life partners lived in at any point during their relationship. If so, that marriage will generally be respected and recognized in Georgia.

Finally, it is important to mention that these factors only apply to probate property.  That means that property passing outside of probate will follow the beneficiary designation and go directly to that person.

For more information about this and other probate topics, please go to GPLG.com/Handbook to download a complimentary copy of our Georgia. Probate Handbook. You’ll learn the key things that go wrong in an estate, how to preventLife Partners & Probate them, and what to do if they happen.

You also can reach out to our office at (770) 796-4582 to set up a consultation.

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About the author

Erik J. Broel
Founder & ceo

Erik founded the firm in 2009. He sees it as his personal mission to demystify the process of handling an estate or trust, and to help people by making the complex estate process simple and accessible. He believes there is always a better way to do things, and loves finding new and innovative ways to deliver better, more effective service that solves the client’s key problem or issue, and improves the client’s life.

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