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Estate administration and probate: Anticipating challenges

Because people in Georgia want to ensure that their estates are distributed according to their wishes, they often put a great deal of thought into the creation of an estate plan. However, some potential beneficiaries are often unhappy with the contents of such a plan, causing complications with the estate administration and probate process. While it is not possible to prevent someone from challenging a plan, there are certain safeguards that can be put in place to prevent a challenge from being successful.

In certain circumstances, some people may anticipate a family member being upset about the contents of a will or other estate planning documents. Fortunately, using clear and concise language in documents created by experienced professionals can prevent confusion. Additionally, if a person is being deliberately disinherited, acknowledging that in a plan -- and, perhaps, even providing a rationale for that action -- can help prevent a credible argument that a person was inadvertently omitted.

Because there are typically only two ways to successfully challenge a plan -- arguing that a person was incompetent or unduly influenced -- ensuring that there are witnesses who can testify that the testator was of sound mind could help block a successful challenge. It is preferable that these witnesses do not benefit from the estate to make their testimony even more convincing. While it may be difficult, having a conversation with a person who could potentially challenge a will could help him or her fully understand the reasons behind certain decisions.

The creation of an estate plan requires a great deal of consideration. People in Georgia typically opt to go through the process to help reduce the stress that grieving family members may feel during the estate administration and probate process. By having a professional with experience creating the legal documents that compose an estate plan, testators can have more confidence that their wishes will be clearly expressed and followed after their passing.

Source: Forbes, "How To Reduce The Possibility Of Your Estate Plan Getting Challenged", Mark Eghrari, Oct. 20, 2017

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