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Probate & Estate Administration

Probate is the process that governs the transfer of a person's assets in accordance with his or her Will. When a person dies, the Executor named in the Will takes office subject to the jurisdiction of the Probate Court. The Executor is charged with the collection of the assets of the decedent, the payment of the liabilities of the decedent and the distribution of the remaining assets in accordance with the terms of the decedent's Will.

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If a person dies without a Will, an administration of the estate occurs and an Administrator is appointed by the Probate Court to administer the estate of the decedent. The function is similar to that of an Executor; however, rather than distribute the assets of the decedent according to the Will of the decedent, the Administrator distributes the assets according to the laws of intestacy of the State of Georgia.

The laws of intestacy set forth a list of "who gets what" based on the number of heirs and the degree of kinship. For example, a surviving spouse with three children is entitled to one-half of the decedent's estate and each child is entitled to a one-sixth interest. A person who dies with neither a spouse nor children has his assets distributed to his parents or among his siblings.

Mr. Humber has represented hundreds of Executors and Administrators in the administration of estates. The majority of probates and administrations are fairly simple and can be accomplished without much delay and at a very reasonable cost. However, in other cases, a number of intricacies can arise particularly when the decedent was a business owner or has beneficiaries with conflicting interests.

Unfortunately, it is not uncommon for disputes to arise regarding inheritances. Very often these Will contests occur when the decedent has been married more than once or one child is getting a larger bequest than other children or a particular heir has been disinherited.

In addition, it is not unusual for claims to be asserted that the designated Executor or Administrator is not acting appropriately or legally in the probate or administration of an estate.