In my Atlanta, Georgia Probate Law firm, I see many instances where beneficiaries and heirs have waived their rights granted by Georgia law during probate proceedings. One of the areas that this occurs in is in relation to the inventory and accounting of estate assets. Executors and administrators are required to provide a complete inventory and accounting of the estate’s assets and liabilities within approximately six months from their appointment. Georgia probate law does not specifically require that six months is a strictly set period for an executor or administrator to complete this task. Thus, depending on the complexity and circumstances surrounding the estate, the court may allow more time for the task to be completed.
To compound the frustration of not knowing the exact timing to completion of this important step in the Georgia probate proceedings, beneficiaries and heirs of a Georgia estate oftentimes unknowingly waive their rights to have an inventory and accounting prepared. Administrators and executors are commonly trusted family members or associates of the deceased, and are not questioned fully when producing documentation requiring signature by the heirs and beneficiaries. In fact, most times these documents include releases and waivers that give the Georgia estate’s executor or administrator significant leeway and discretion in performing their duties.
As a Georgia estate heir or beneficiary, whenever presented with legal documentation to sign during probate proceedings, it is important to retain an experienced Georgia probate lawyer to review the documentation and guide you in making the proper choices you are comfortable with. Express caution should be taken if you are asked to sign legal documents in front of a witness or Georgia Notary Public. Being pressured, even in a good-natured way, to sign documentation without having your lawyer review it first, should always be considered a red flag that indicates a potential issue. Under Georgia probate law, you are expected to have read and understood the documentation before signing and have the right to review the impact of signing the documents with a Georgia probate lawyer first. Should you not understand the documents your are presented with to sign, Georgia probate law states that it is incumbent upon you as an heir or beneficiary to an estate in Georgia, to seek out the meaning and ramifications of signing these documents. Some consider this a rather harsh stance, however, when the ball is in your court, you must take full advantage of this opportunity.
IN SHORT, YOU SHOULD PREPARE FOR THE WORST, AND HOPE FOR THE BEST!
In my many years as an Atlanta, Georgia probate attorney, I can emphatically state that I have never come across a Georgia beneficiary or heir who was disappointed because they were extremely cautious and/or overly prepared for any Georgia estate proceeding.
The fact is, you have certain rights as a beneficiary or heir involved in a Georgia probate proceeding. Always consult with a skilled Atlanta probate attorney before you sign any documentation wherein you might waive your rights under Georgia probate law. I would also be extremely hesitant to feel comfortable and trusting of the advice the executor or administrator’s attorney gives you. Remember, everyone involved in the estate proceeding has their own agenda. Likewise, you should have your own lawyer to assist you.
If you do not understand the documents you are being asked to sign, or you are uncomfortable with the explanations given to you, call The Libby Law Firm today to discuss your situation at (404) 467-8611. You may also contact us via our website by filling out the confidential “Contact Us” form. Our Atlanta probate lawyers are available to guide you in all matters of Georgia probate litigation or Georgia estate administration.
Our Firm also has a Cobb County Office conveniently located in Marietta, Georgia. You can reach the Cobb County, Marietta, Georgia office by calling (770) 952-1008. You may also send us a message through our confidential “Web Site” form to either or both offices.
Our Atlanta, Georgia and Marietta, Georgia probate law firm boast a national client base, which consists of clients located in over 35 states as well as many foreign countries. Both our Atlanta-Buckhead Office, and our Marietta Offices are conveniently located, easy to get to, and have plenty of free secure parking. The Libby Law Firm’ experienced Georgia probate lawyers and friendly legal staff is ready to serve you and straightforwardly assert your rights and protect your best interests.