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jb156200, Attorney
Category: Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 373
Experience:  I am a Probate Attorney practicing in Tampa, Florida.
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If we decided to contest the will how Much can we expect to

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If we decided to contest the will how Much can we expect to spend?? What does the process look like?? Do you have to hire a lawyer to contest the will. If the estate is large enough....millions of dollars, are there lawyers out there that would take on contesting the will without payment but for a portion of the estate should they win???

Hello again. Ok, as far as a cost to contest the Will it depends on the grounds for why you believe the Will is invalid. The reasons people contest a Will are usually, the person was not competent when they executed the Will, the person was under duress or coercion, or the Will was not properly executed. What grounds are you seeking in this case?

Customer: replied 2 months ago.
Can you elaborate on those reasons for contesting with an example so I can make sure i'm understanding correctly???

You are not required to hire an attorney, but if you want to contest the Will, it is highly advisable that you hire one because of the complexity of the matter. I have never heard of an attorney who takes on a Will contest based on getting a portion of the estate.

No problem, I can give you examples. First, a person may contest the Will if they believe the person was incompetent when they executed the Will. Basically they did not meet the mental capacity to understand what they are signing. An example is someone who has Alzheimer's or severe dementia.

Another way to contest the Will is if the Will was not executed properly. For instance, depending on what state the Will is created, let's say there is a requirement of 3 witnesses in order for the Will to be valid. If the will only had 2 witnesses, then you could contest the Will for not being executed properly.

Customer: replied 2 months ago.
I'm sure they rarely would make a mistake like that.
Customer: replied 2 months ago.
How many witnesses are required in georgia?

Another way to contest the Will is if you believe the individual was under undue influence, meaning someone influenced them on the terms of the Will. Many times you see this when someone has 3 children; however, the Will leaves money to only 1 child and leaves the other two out.

Here are the requirements of a valid Will in Georgia:

  1. Capacity to Make a Will

    A person must meet certain minimum requirements in order to make a will. In Georgia, one must be fourteen (14) years of age to make a will. A person must also know his/her property and that he/she is specifying the persons or entities to whom he/she is leaving property. A person must know "the objects of his bounty" (i.e. his children, spouse, family, etc.). Finally, the testator must know the contents of the will he is signing.
  2. Absence of Duress or Coercion

    A will that is made under pressure or coercion is not valid. An extreme example would be someone who signs a will with a gun to her head. The most common cases of wills invalidated for undue influence involve caretakers or others upon whom the testator (the person making the will) relies convince her to give property to them in the will.
  3. In Writing

    A will must be written in order to be valid. The will does not have to be typewritten or on any special paper. It can be handwritten. A will may not be oral in Georgia. For example, a videotape of someone expressing his wishes on videotape would probably not be a valid will under Georgia law.
  4. Signed by, or at the direction of, the maker of the will

    The will must be signed by the testator (the maker of the will). If a person cannot sign his or her name (either for an inability to write, or a physical handicap) he or she can make a mark to indicate the intent to sign, or someone can sign the persons name if directed to do so.
  5. Properly Witnessed

    In order to be valid in Georgia, a will must be witnessed by at least two people. The witnesses must be at least fourteen (14) years old and must sign their own respective names on the will. Each witness must be competent to witness the will. Under Georgia law, a witness is "competent" if the witness can distinguish right from wrong and can testify in a court of law regarding the facts surrounding the execution of the will. The fact that a witness is a criminal does not render the witness incompetent to witness a will.

    While it does not affect the validity of the will or the competency of the witness, if there are only two witnesses to a will and one of those witnesses is a beneficiary under the will, the witness loses any rights to property the witness would have received under the will. Therefore, no one who is a beneficiary under a will should witness that will.
  6. A Notary is not Required; Self-Proving Affidavit

    Although most wills executed today with the help of attorneys or legal services or software contain the signature and seal of a notary, a notary is not required to make a valid will in Georgia. Georgia law allows for a self-proving affidavit. The Georgia Code provides the form of the affidavit at O.C.G.A. section 53-4-24.
    The benefit of having a self-proving affidavit is that it eliminates the requirement that the witnesses submit interrogatories to the probate court after the death of the testator if the will is not challenged. This can make the probate process simpler and quicker.
Customer: replied 2 months ago.
Ok thanks for your help!

Of course no problem. Please let me know if you have an additional question or need clarification.

jb156200 and 2 other Estate Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 2 months ago.
Ok thank you!