When some in Georgia dies, their property does not automatically pass to their beneficiaries. Whether or not they have a will, their estate must pass through probate. There is a technical process that follows that requires adherence to all of the details and timelines.

When there is property involved, there are two different types of probate. The easiest type of probate is the common form probate. This is the form of probate that one will choose when they do not believe that someone will contest the will. Common form probate does not require notice to either beneficiaries or other persons. It is designed to quickly appoint an executor and pass the property. However, even after common form probate, one will have four years to contest the will so it is nor fully official until that time passes.

Solemn form probate will take additional time at the outset because parties need to be notified. They are given a chance to object before probate is completed. The positive of this for the beneficiaries is that once the time period for objections passes, the will cannot be contested after that. All of the above applies only if there is property to be divided. If there is a will but no property to be distributed, then it is not necessary for the estate to pass through probate.

Many people are unfamiliar with the rules of the probate process. If there is significant property in the will or if there may be a will contest, one should hire a probate attorney to help advise them and protect their interests. The probate attorney might advance their client’s case in court if there is litigation. Alternatively, they could simply monitor the process and be ready in case there are legal issues for them to address.