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If It’s Not In The Will, Does It Matter What The Testator Wants?

August 17, 2017

Authors

Luke Lantta

If It’s Not In The Will, Does It Matter What The Testator Wants?

August 17, 2017

by: Luke Lantta

If you want someone to get your money or property when you die, why don’t you just say so?  The case reporters are thick with stories of testators who left money or property to one person with the supposed ‘understanding’ or ‘instruction’ that the person who got the money would use it for the care of another.  Add Rabun v. Rabun to that list.

In this trust and estate dispute, the decedent transferred assets during his life and through his will to his grandson (who was also his executor and his adopted son).  The decedent’s widow claimed that the decedent intended for some of these assets to be used by the executor for her support, so she sought imposition of a constructive trust on those assets.

In support of her claim, the widow pointed to

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Waiver Of Year’s Support Through Post-Nuptial Agreement

May 3, 2017

Authors

Luke Lantta

Waiver Of Year’s Support Through Post-Nuptial Agreement

May 3, 2017

by: Luke Lantta

Divorce should put an early end to the marriage vow of “’til death does us part.” But, when it comes to estate disputes, neither divorce nor death can part the path to the courthouse.  In In re: Estate of Boyd, the husband and wife may have suspected their marriage could end: after 15 years of marriage, they separated, reconciled, and then entered into a post-nuptial agreement.  The agreement provided how assets would be distributed if the parties were married at the time of either’s death and provided for distribution of assets if the parties separated or filed for divorce prior to death.  The latter provision is relevant.

The husband filed for divorce and died hours later.  The wife filed a petition for year’s support in the probate

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The Very Limited Objections To A Petition For Year’s Support

March 12, 2012

Authors

Luke Lantta

The Very Limited Objections To A Petition For Year’s Support

March 12, 2012

by: Luke Lantta

It seems like the Georgia appellate courts are on a little bit of a run when it comes to addressing the limited jurisdiction of Georgia’s probate courts.  Interestingly enough, the latest opinion on limited probate court jurisdiction also involves a petition for year’s support.

In In re Mahmoodzadeh, the Georgia Court of Appeals explained how a probate court should handle an award of year’s support when title to the subject property is disputed.  The case highlights that when it comes to petitions for year’s support, the available objections are extremely limited.

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Breach Of Contract Claim Was A Second Bite Of The Apple

March 6, 2012

Authors

Luke Lantta

Breach Of Contract Claim Was A Second Bite Of The Apple

March 6, 2012

by: Luke Lantta

Probate courts are courts of limited jurisdiction in Georgia, so they can’t hear every possible claim remotely relating to an estate dispute.  For example, in Georgia, they lack certain equitable powers that are held solely by the superior courts.  Nevertheless, if you find yourself in a probate court, you best raise every issue you have regarding the subject estate or you may end up losing that claim.  Likewise, it’s worth giving the underlying set of facts giving rise to your claim a thorough analysis to ensure that you’re raising all possible claims that could arise from that set of facts.

In Crowe v. Elder, the Georgia Supreme Court considered a decedent’s daughter’s breach of contract claim allegedly arising from the decedent’s widow’s failure to honor an alleged agreement regarding the distribution of the intestate decedent’s estate.  The Supreme Court determined that the

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Common Law Marriages, Dead or Alive? Both.

October 25, 2011

Authors

Kim Civins

Common Law Marriages, Dead or Alive? Both.

October 25, 2011

by: Kim Civins

A client recently asked me about the status of Georgia common law marriage, and in answering him, I thought it might be a good time for a reminder for all of us (including those in other states) that even if a state no longer recognizes common law marriage, usually such marriages remain valid if formed prior to the date of a statutory enactment prohibiting them. In addition, most states also recognize common law marriages formed in other states.

For example, the State of Georgia recognizes common law marriages formed prior to January 1, 1997, as well as valid common law marriages formed in other states. Under Georgia law, a valid common law marriage may be formed between a man and a woman if they have (1) the capacity to make a marriage contract, (2) actually entered into a nuptial contract (usually proven by evidence

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