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Best Probate Lawyers in Athens

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C. David Rowe, P.C. logo
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C. David Rowe, P.C.

3651 Mars Hill Rd Suite 500A, Watkinsville, GA 30677
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  • Estate Planning

Business Description

C. David Rowe, P.C., is a law firm that represents clients in Athens in probate, estate planning, business law, and tax law cases. The sole attorney assists clients in drafting wills and testaments and insurance and health care plans. He also represents business owners in various transactions, from formation to sale or ownership transitions. Rowe is a member of the US Tax Court and WealthCounsel, which is a group of over 2,500 estate planning attorneys nationwide.

Reputation:

We scour the internet for reviews from well-known resources. Each provider is evaluated based on the quality and quantity of their reviews, their presence on multiple review sites, and their average minimum rating.
4.3
Google
4.2 / 5 (10)
Facebook
5.0 / 5 (1)

Professionalism:

We hire mystery shoppers to call our providers anonymously and evaluate them. Providers who respond quickly, answer questions thoroughly, and communicate politely score higher.
4.0
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Davidson Legal Services of Georgia logo
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Davidson Legal Services of Georgia

2500 W. Broad St. Suite 608, Building 600, Athens, GA 30606
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  • Wills
  • Estate Planning

Business Description

Davidson Legal Services of Georgia is a firm that has been serving clients in the Athens area since 1995. It handles estate law matters that involve probate, will establishment, living will declaration, and durable power of attorney placement. Its probate assistance includes protecting clients from excessive taxes, legal battles, and potential issues. The practice also works on criminal, family law, personal injury, and real estate litigation. Principal Laurence Davidson worked as a law enforcement officer at the United States Border Patrol before becoming a lawyer.

Reputation:

We scour the internet for reviews from well-known resources. Each provider is evaluated based on the quality and quantity of their reviews, their presence on multiple review sites, and their average minimum rating.
4.5
Google
4.0 / 5 (2)
Yelp
5.0 / 5 (2)

Professionalism:

We hire mystery shoppers to call our providers anonymously and evaluate them. Providers who respond quickly, answer questions thoroughly, and communicate politely score higher.
5.0
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Epps, Holloway, DeLoach & Hoipkemier Estate Planning logo
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Epps, Holloway, DeLoach & Hoipkemier Estate Planning

1220 Langford Drive Building 200, Suite 101, Watkinsville, GA 30677
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  • Trusts
  • Wills
  • Estate Planning
  • Probate

Business Description

Epps, Holloway, DeLoach & Hoipkemier, LLC, handles the needs of individuals and families in the Athens area and neighboring communities. The firm focuses on various practice areas, including probate avoidance, estate planning, asset protection, and estate tax planning. Kelly Holloway, who was one of the founding partners of Epps, Holloway, DeLoach & Hoipkemier in 2016, has 19 years of experience in Athens. Before joining the firm, she concentrated her practice on estate planning, estate administration, and elder law.

Reputation:

We scour the internet for reviews from well-known resources. Each provider is evaluated based on the quality and quantity of their reviews, their presence on multiple review sites, and their average minimum rating.
4.3
Google
4.5 / 5 (182)
Facebook
4.5 / 5 (57)

Professionalism:

We hire mystery shoppers to call our providers anonymously and evaluate them. Providers who respond quickly, answer questions thoroughly, and communicate politely score higher.
5.0
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Fields logo
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Fields

1431 Capital Avenue, Suite 115, Watkinsville, GA 30677
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  • Estate Planning

Business Description

Fields is a law firm that helps clients in Athens navigate the court-supervised probate process. Bayli Fields, the firm's founder, assists in determining the value of the decedent's assets, settling their taxes and final bills, and distributing their remaining estate to rightful beneficiaries. She also provides services for asset protection and guides clients in creating their estate and special needs plans. She lectures in UGA’s OLLI program, where she offers elder law-related staff training for assisted living facilities and nursing homes.

Reputation:

We scour the internet for reviews from well-known resources. Each provider is evaluated based on the quality and quantity of their reviews, their presence on multiple review sites, and their average minimum rating.
5.0
Facebook
5.0 / 5 (12)

Professionalism:

We hire mystery shoppers to call our providers anonymously and evaluate them. Providers who respond quickly, answer questions thoroughly, and communicate politely score higher.
5.0
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Fortson, Bentley & Griffin, P.A. Attorneys at Law logo
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Fortson, Bentley & Griffin, P.A. Attorneys at Law

2500 Daniell’s Bridge Road Building 200, Suite 3A, Athens, GA 30606
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  • Trusts
  • Wills
  • Estate Planning

Business Description

Fortson, Bentley & Griffin, P.A. Attorneys at Law, is a firm that has been assisting clients in Athens since 1946. It handles estate law matters, including probate, asset protection, estate and trust administration, guardianship and conservatorship, and estate planning. Its probate services involve guiding trustees and beneficiaries, administering the estates, and distributing the decedents' assets. Partner William C. Berryman, Jr., who has been practicing law since 1978, served as the county attorney for 16 years at the Athens-Clarke County Unified Government.

Reputation:

We scour the internet for reviews from well-known resources. Each provider is evaluated based on the quality and quantity of their reviews, their presence on multiple review sites, and their average minimum rating.
4.8
Google
4.8 / 5 (12)

Professionalism:

We hire mystery shoppers to call our providers anonymously and evaluate them. Providers who respond quickly, answer questions thoroughly, and communicate politely score higher.
4.0
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French Law Group LLC logo
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French Law Group LLC

1800 Hog Mountain Road, Watkinsville, GA 30677
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  • Trusts
  • Wills
  • Estate Planning
  • Probate

Business Description

The French Law Group LLC offers legal protection solutions for families and businesses in Athens. The company guides families, individuals, same-sex couples, special needs families, and entrepreneurs in estate planning and probate administration. It assists clients in creating last wills and testaments, financial powers of attorney, and advanced directives for healthcare. Founder Laura French is an adjunct professor of law at the University of Georgia School of Law. Her expertise is in trust matters, estate planning, and corporate law.

Reputation:

We scour the internet for reviews from well-known resources. Each provider is evaluated based on the quality and quantity of their reviews, their presence on multiple review sites, and their average minimum rating.
5.0
Facebook
5.0 / 5 (14)
Google
5.0 / 5 (9)
J.V. Dell, P.C. logo
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J.V. Dell, P.C.

1040 Founders Row, Greensboro, GA 30642
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  • Trusts
  • Wills
  • Estate Planning
  • Probate Litigation

Business Description

J.V. Dell Jr. of J.V. Dell PC is an estate planning attorney near Athens who has served clients for over two decades. Attorney Dell and his team provide legal counsel in probate matters such as claims against estates, will contests, and disputes between beneficiaries. Estate planning services are provided to help clients prepare for transfers of assets and property upon their passing, with specific services that include preparation of medical directives and living wills, setting up trust accounts, and drafting last wills and testaments.

Reputation:

We scour the internet for reviews from well-known resources. Each provider is evaluated based on the quality and quantity of their reviews, their presence on multiple review sites, and their average minimum rating.
5.0

Professionalism:

We hire mystery shoppers to call our providers anonymously and evaluate them. Providers who respond quickly, answer questions thoroughly, and communicate politely score higher.
5.0
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Kennetth Dious & Associates logo
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Kennetth Dious & Associates

115 Sycamore Drive Suite B-1, Athens, GA 30606
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  • Wills
  • Estate Taxes

Business Description

Kenneth Dious & Associates has been catering to the legal needs of families and individuals in Athens for more than four decades. It litigates various types of probate law cases, helping clients settle powers of attorney and contractual disputes. The law office also offers estate planning and will and trust administration assistance, and it represents negligence victims suffering from medical malpractice and automobile accident injuries. Principal partner Kenneth Dious is a member of the Georgia Supreme Court Commission for Equality.

Reputation:

We scour the internet for reviews from well-known resources. Each provider is evaluated based on the quality and quantity of their reviews, their presence on multiple review sites, and their average minimum rating.
4.9
Google
4.9 / 5 (14)

Professionalism:

We hire mystery shoppers to call our providers anonymously and evaluate them. Providers who respond quickly, answer questions thoroughly, and communicate politely score higher.
5.0
Responsiveness
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Helpfulness
Detail
Law Offices of Cynthia E. Call logo
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Law Offices of Cynthia E. Call

320 East Clayton Street, Athens, GA 30601
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  • Trusts
  • Wills
  • Estate Planning

Business Description

Cynthia E. Call of the Law Offices of Cynthia E. Call is a probate attorney in Athens in practice since 1995. Attorney Call assists personal representatives and executors with probate matters such as filing initial petitions with the court and overseeing administration of asset distribution. Ms. Call provides counsel to individuals and families in all areas of estate planning, and she helps with the drafting of wills, trusts, durable financial power of attorney agreements, and medical directives.

Reputation:

We scour the internet for reviews from well-known resources. Each provider is evaluated based on the quality and quantity of their reviews, their presence on multiple review sites, and their average minimum rating.
4.6
Google
4.6 / 5 (11)

Professionalism:

We hire mystery shoppers to call our providers anonymously and evaluate them. Providers who respond quickly, answer questions thoroughly, and communicate politely score higher.
5.0
Responsiveness
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Morris Law LLC logo
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Morris Law LLC

286 Hancock Street, Madison, GA 30650
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  • Trusts
  • Wills
  • Estate Planning

Business Description

Serving clients throughout the Athens metro area, Morris Law LLC is a full-service legal practice that offers estate planning services to individuals and families. Services provided include advising on and preparing last wills and testaments, setting up trusts to help preserve assets, and assistance with estate tax matters. The firm's additional practice areas include family law, business law, and criminal law. Founder and principal attorney Stephen Morris received his Juris Doctor from Florida Coastal School of Law, and he is a member of the Georgia Bar.

Reputation:

We scour the internet for reviews from well-known resources. Each provider is evaluated based on the quality and quantity of their reviews, their presence on multiple review sites, and their average minimum rating.
5.0
Facebook
4.5 / 5 (57)

Professionalism:

We hire mystery shoppers to call our providers anonymously and evaluate them. Providers who respond quickly, answer questions thoroughly, and communicate politely score higher.
5.0
Responsiveness
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Detail
Oconee Law Firm, PC logo
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Oconee Law Firm, PC

1 North 3rd Street, Watkinsville, GA 30677
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  • Trusts
  • Wills
  • Estate Planning
  • Living Trust
  • Estate Taxes
  • Probate Litigation

Business Description

Representing clients throughout the Athens metro area, Oconee Law Firm is an estate planning and elder care legal practice that offers both litigation and mediation services. Founding attorney Dennise L. Grayson is a member of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys, and she helps clients prepare estate plans and long-term care plans to provide for loved ones and ensure medical costs are covered later in life. Attorney Grayson handles probate administration matters, and she advises on estate taxes and asset protection strategies.

Reputation:

We scour the internet for reviews from well-known resources. Each provider is evaluated based on the quality and quantity of their reviews, their presence on multiple review sites, and their average minimum rating.
5.0
Google
5.0 / 5 (14)

Professionalism:

We hire mystery shoppers to call our providers anonymously and evaluate them. Providers who respond quickly, answer questions thoroughly, and communicate politely score higher.
4.0
Responsiveness
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Helpfulness
Detail
––
Prior Law Firm logo
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Prior Law Firm

1360 Caduceus Way, Watkinsville, GA 30677
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  • Trusts
  • Wills
  • Estate Planning
  • Living Trust
  • Estate Taxes
  • Trust Administration

Business Description

Prior Law Firm is an estate planning and elder law firm that represents clients throughout the Athens metro area. All estate planning services provided are confidential, and the firm's attorneys assist in areas that include the drafting of estate documents such as wills and trusts, assistance with naming beneficiaries and setting up trust accounts, and preparation of medical directives and financial power of attorney agreements. When estates must complete probate prior to settling, the practice provides thorough guidance throughout the proceedings.

Reputation:

We scour the internet for reviews from well-known resources. Each provider is evaluated based on the quality and quantity of their reviews, their presence on multiple review sites, and their average minimum rating.
5.0
Google
4.5 / 5 (182)
Facebook
4.5 / 5 (57)

Professionalism:

We hire mystery shoppers to call our providers anonymously and evaluate them. Providers who respond quickly, answer questions thoroughly, and communicate politely score higher.
5.0
Responsiveness
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Detail
Smith, Gilliam, Williams & Miles logo
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Smith, Gilliam, Williams & Miles

301 Green Street, Gainesville, GA 30501
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  • Trusts
  • Wills
  • Estate Planning
  • Living Trust
  • Trust Administration

Business Description

Smith, Gilliam, Williams & Miles is an estate planning and family law firm that serves clients throughout the Athens metro area. Founded in 1928, the firm represents individuals, families, non-profits, and corporate fiduciaries in all areas of estate planning. Specific estate planning services provided include drafting wills, preparing revocable trusts, and creating customized plans to maximize wealth while reducing taxes. In addition to estate planning, the firm's attorneys provide legal guidance to trustees, beneficiaries, and executors in probate litigation and private trust administrations.

Reputation:

We scour the internet for reviews from well-known resources. Each provider is evaluated based on the quality and quantity of their reviews, their presence on multiple review sites, and their average minimum rating.
4.7
Google
4.6 / 5 (9)
Avvo
5.0 / 5 (3)

Professionalism:

We hire mystery shoppers to call our providers anonymously and evaluate them. Providers who respond quickly, answer questions thoroughly, and communicate politely score higher.
5.0
Responsiveness
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Helpfulness
Detail
Sperr Law Offices logo
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Sperr Law Offices

2350 Prince Avenue, Athens, GA 30606
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  • Trusts
  • Wills
  • Estate Planning
  • Living Trust
  • Trust Administration
  • Probate Litigation

Business Description

Sperr Law Offices is a law firm in Athens with a focus on estate planning, probate, and elder law matters. The firm's attorneys assist personal representatives with filing probate petitions and opening probate administration, and they help individuals and families create estate plans to preserve assets and plan for future medical expenses in the event of incapacitation. Estate planning services offered include the preparation of revocable trusts and special needs trusts, drafting of last wills and testaments, and advising on potential estate taxes and asset protection.

Reputation:

We scour the internet for reviews from well-known resources. Each provider is evaluated based on the quality and quantity of their reviews, their presence on multiple review sites, and their average minimum rating.
5.0
Google
5.0 / 5 (122)
Avvo
4.9 / 5 (41)
Facebook
4.7 / 5 (15)

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Professionalism:

We hire mystery shoppers to call our providers anonymously and evaluate them. Providers who respond quickly, answer questions thoroughly, and communicate politely score higher.
5.0
Responsiveness
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Helpfulness
Detail
The Laster Law Firm, LLC logo
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The Laster Law Firm, LLC

1361 Jennings Mill Rd Ste 411, Watkinsville, GA 30677
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  • Trusts
  • Wills
  • Estate Planning
  • Living Trust
  • Estate Settlement

Business Description

The Laster Law Firm is a law practice in the Athens metro area that represents parties in probate and estate planning matters. Attorney John Laster founded the firm in 2011, and he and his team assist parties with probate matters such as assigning probate executors, valuing estates and paying off debts, and final distribution of assets. Estate planning services Mr. Laster assists with include creation of financial and medical powers of attorney agreements, drafting of wills and trusts, and estate tax advising.

Reputation:

We scour the internet for reviews from well-known resources. Each provider is evaluated based on the quality and quantity of their reviews, their presence on multiple review sites, and their average minimum rating.
4.2
Facebook
5.0 / 5 (13)

Professionalism:

We hire mystery shoppers to call our providers anonymously and evaluate them. Providers who respond quickly, answer questions thoroughly, and communicate politely score higher.
5.0
Responsiveness
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Helpfulness
Detail
Back to Providers

Frequently Asked Questions

What does a probate attorney do?

Probate attorneys are licensed professionals who represent executors and heirs after someone has died. They provide personalized legal advice, assist with tax planning, settle debts, and facilitate the distribution of assets. Probate attorneys typically represent clients during administrative proceedings overseen by probate courts, although some litigators focus on handling disputes and lawsuits related to contested estates.

What is probate court?

Probate court works with the family or beneficiaries of a deceased person to validate their last will and testament. The courts review the individual's will to identify and calculate assets, pay off remaining debts, and distribute the remaining property to beneficiaries per the deceased person's requests. Depending on state laws, property valued under a certain amount may not require probate.

How long do you have to file probate after death?

The amount of time loved ones have to file a will after a person dies varies from state to state. While California courts require probate to be filed within one year, New York has no deadline. That being said, it's advisable to file probate as quickly as possible once a person has died, as the process itself can take anywhere from a few weeks to more than a year.

Does life insurance go through probate?

Life insurance doesn't need to go through the probate courts if the deceased individual has named a beneficiary on their policy. However, life insurance policies without beneficiaries, or with beneficiaries who are either deceased themselves or cannot be contacted, go directly to the deceased individual's estate. When this happens, life insurance proceeds must go through probate court to determine how funds should be allocated.

Do household items go through probate?

While the exact rules do vary from state to state, most household items don't require probate and are automatically left to immediate families unless otherwise stated in the deceased person's will. When it comes to property, only items above a certain value or held in title are required to go through probate in most states.

Do bank accounts with beneficiaries have to go through probate?

In the event a beneficiary has been named, bank accounts are not required to go through probate and will be paid directly to the person designated by the deceased individual. However, should that individual be deceased themselves or if contact cannot be made after a certain period of time, funds will be allocated to the estate and put through the probate process.

What happens if no probate is filed?

Depending on the circumstances, probate may not be required in all cases. If a person passes on and their remaining property is jointly owned, it automatically transfers to the other owner. However, if a property is not jointly owned and no probate has been filed, the executor of the will won't be able to transfer titles or cash assets to beneficiaries. Be aware that the specific laws surrounding probate requirements vary from state to state.

What is probate real estate?

Probate real estate is the process that happens when a realtor steps in to handle the sale or transfer of a deceased person's owned home to another individual. In some cases, the house is sold as a means of liquidating assets, and proceeds from the sale are used to pay debts or are distributed to beneficiaries.

Can I probate a will or estate without an attorney?

It is possible to probate a will and close an estate without hiring an attorney. However, it requires multiple steps and an understanding of the law. The first step is to petition the court to appoint a representative for the estate. Next, the executor must notify all heirs and creditors before switching ownership from the decedent to the estate. Once all debts, taxes, and final expenses have been paid, funds can be transferred to heirs. To close an estate, the executor must submit a report showing the court that all obligations and final wishes have been satisfied. While a will and estate may seem straightforward, things can get complicated quickly if multiple heirs are involved, or if disputes or disagreements arise over distribution. A probate lawyer can help navigate these disputes effectively, and take pressure off the executor when beneficiaries aren’t getting along.

How many years can an estate remain in probate?

If the will or proposed distribution of property is contested, an estate may remain in probate for several years. The timeline depends on how long relatives have to initiate probate, how long creditors have to come forward, and how busy the courts are. In some states, such as Florida, relatives have just 10 days to initiate probate, and the entire process takes approximately six months. In other areas, such as Massachusetts, the process can last one to two years, although the majority of probate activities occur in the first nine months. The value of the estate also affects the duration of the case. For example, California and Texas have simplified procedures for smaller estates, such as those valued at $150,000 or less.

When is a will's probate an automatic process?

Probate is the legal process of validating a last will and testament to ensure that the decedent's wishes are followed. A probate judge may automatically clear wills if they're accompanied by an affidavit from the decedent, a notary, and a witness. Some assets, including financial accounts with designated beneficiaries, and funds held by certain types of trusts don't have to go through probate.

What does it mean when property is under probate?

Real estate that's under probate is typically liquidated through the court system, which is most common when someone dies without a will. Home buyers who are interested in this type of property must follow special rules regarding deposits, which are sometimes nonrefundable, and buyer's premiums. Additionally, the court must approve the purchase price.

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