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Practice Areas

The Libby Law Firm’s mission is to provide practical and comprehensive representation to our client with respect to their estates.  A person’s estate arises at his birth and stays with him his entire life.  Following his death, his estate continues to exist until his personal representative disposes of all of the property in the estate by paying off the person’s final debts and the distributing the remainder to the person’s beneficiaries or heirs.  Issues related to a person’s estate may arise throughout the course of his life, but they typically peak following a person’s death and may continue for many years afterward.  The practice areas of the Libby Law Firm are focused estate representation through all stages of a person’s life.

Estate Planning
Guardianship & Conservatorship
Will Probate
Will Contests
Year’s Support
Estate Administration
Trust Disputes

Estate Planning

An estate plan usually is the most important element of a person’s estate.  A comprehensive estate plan, including a will, financial power of attorney, and advanced healthcare directive (and sometimes additional instruments such as trusts), is a legally enforceable set of commands.  A person without an estate plan subjects her assets to the whims of legislators, courts, and sometimes quarrelsome heirs.  Learn more details about the importance of an estate plan and why you don’t want to leave this world without one.

Guardianship and Conservatorship

Too often, people become helpless through no fault of their own.  A minor child may lose his parents to an accident.  An elderly person may lose her mind to dementia.  These are people who are unable to take care of themselves. Fortunately, the law provides a method to protect them, by the appointment of a representative – one for the ward’s care (called a guardian) and one for her estate (called a conservator).  But the law is unclear and provides fertile ground for disputes.  Find out how to navigate guardianship and conservatorship proceedings to provide the best interests of your loved one.

Will Probate

A person has died, and it is time to begin the process of administering his estate.  Hopefully, he left a Will.  If so, Georgia law requires the Will to be probated.  In other words, the law requires a court to hear evidence that the Will is valid and provide an opportunity for the deceased’s heirs to inspect and object to the Will.  In most cases, the Will will be proved and the executor appointed.  But the petition process is sometimes unclear, and the courts are inconsistent.  Read about the potential pitfalls when probating a Will and how to ensure the process goes as smoothly as possible.

Will Contests

Now and then, a Will is not what it purports to be.  Perhaps the testator (the person whose Will is at issue) didn’t have the capacity to make the Will, or someone influenced her to make a Will that she didn’t want to make.  Sometimes, a Will simply wasn’t executed properly.  When the validity of a Will is challenged, it is crucial to determine all facts about its creation.  Learn here how we can help you determine those facts and assess whether a Will will stand or fall.

Year’s Support

Whether or not a Will exists, Georgia law clearly provides that a deceased’s spouse and minor children are entitled to make a claim for Year’s Support (though the vast majority of these claims are made by spouses), which has priority over all other claims to an estate.  However, what amount from an estate constitutes a Year’s Support is not clear at all and often becomes a point of dispute.  Read here what the courts want to know when quantifying a Year’s Support claim.

Estate Administration

If there is a Will, the executor handles administration.  If there is no Will, an administrator needs to be appointed.  Once administration begins, both an executor and administrator are referred to under Georgia law a personal representative.  Depending upon the provisions of the Will and the circumstances of the estate, a personal representative’s duties can be simple or complicated.  But a personal representative must first learn what those duties are.  Educate yourself here about the legal duties of a personal representative and how to distinguish them from the expectations of the beneficiaries, heirs, and creditors of the estate.

Fiduciary Disputes

Trustees, personal representatives, and other fiduciaries are obligated to serve the best interests of their charge.  Their responsibility is great, and the consequences of their neglect or misconduct can be devastating.  On the other hand, they often face demanding and distrustful beneficiaries and heirs despite their diligence in their duties.  Find out here where a fiduciary’s responsibilities end and dereliction begins.

1175 Peachtree Street, N.E.
100 Colony Square, Suite 1450

Atlanta, GA 30361

Phone: 404-445-7771
Fax: 404-445-7774
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