probate litigation athens ga

When only the best probate litigation attorneys in Athens, Ga. will do, it’s time to put over 60 years of legal experience to work for you!  Call the most experienced probate litigation lawyers in Athens – Clarke County, Georgia at Prior, Daniel, & Wiltshire.

probate litigation athens ga

Call Michael C. Daniel @ 706-543-0002

Probate Litigation in Athens, Ga.

Howard Hughes was a man whose name inspires a myriad of stories – some of them true, some of them false.

He was a film producer, aviation pioneer, philanthropist and womanizer.

He was also an increasingly mysterious hermit.

So much so, that when he died, it’s unclear where or with whom.

It was ruled that he had died intestate – which means that his estate was greater than his debts and he had no will to state where the remains of his estate would go.

This set the stage for probate litigation. Hughes had signed a will in 1925 when he was 19, but that was before he had accumulated his billions. There was also a mysterious handwritten will that just as mysteriously appeared at a gas station outside of LasVegas.

It was that will that was deemed a forgery and placed Hughes’ estate into probate litigation.

“Mr. Daniel has litigated multiple complex probate matters throughout Northeast Georgia, including disputes involving multi-million dollar estates. If you and your family face a dispute over probate matters you need to have skilled legal assistance from an experienced attorney to understand how best to safeguard assets, protect the estate and honor the final wishes of your loved one.

Michael has handled two very complex estate disputes for me involving substantial acreage on and around Lake Oconee, Georgia.   I hired Michael because he had the reputation of being the best estate litigation attorney in the area; he did not disappoint.  The thing that struck me most about his representation were the contacts he had in the community.  He retained excellent development and valuation experts to support our arguments.   I learned that there is no substitute for experience when it comes to estate litigation.

“I was very pleased with the outcome in both matters, and recommend Michael to anyone involved in complex estate litigation.

Kaye Dyar, M.D.


Probate litigation, obviously, involves the contesting of wills.

For probate litigation in Athens, Ga. call Michael C. Daniel @ 706-543-0002

These cases are often highly emotional, involving unfortunate family feuds, but they can also be highly complex. Probate litigation also deals with power of attorney or patient advocate designation. Probate attorneys are often engaged if a family member suspects some kind of elder abuse, such that no one is allowed to see the older family member.

Those that have sequestered the elder individual may have what’s called undue influence over them, causing a change in the will that the older individual may not want.

The recent death of Brook Astor was a textbook case of such elder abuse that saw justice done thanks to probate litigation, and amazing lawyers like you’ll find with probate litigation in Athens, Ga.  Ms. Astor had changed her will several dozen times, the latest of which had omitted her son, whose current wife Ms. Astor apparently detested. Ms. Astor was over one hundred years old when she died and had Alzheimer’s.

Her final will was contested by her grandson as he was sure both his father and his father’s attorney had brought it about by fraudulent means – going so far as to forge Ms. Astor’s name.

The court found both the son and his lawyer guilty of grand larceny and fraud.


Several other reasons why a will may be contested and result in probate litigation (probate litigation in Athens, Ga) are:

  1. Some of the beneficiaries are not given an inventory of the property or details about creditors claiming a piece of the estate are not disclosed.
  2. One of beneficiaries enjoying the full benefits. This happens often with a second spouse receiving the bulk of an estate while the children feel entitled to a larger inheritance than what was stated in the will.
  3. Differences of opinion over guardianship and conservator ships  A guardianship refers to the care of a minor child while a conservatorship refers to the care of one who is mentally ill, severely disabled or elderly individuals with Alzheimer’s or dementia.
  4. One of the beneficiaries has failed to do his or her fiduciary duties or, similarly, there is a dispute as to who is to act as executor or personal representative.

Wills and probate litigation serve similar purposes.

  1. To avoid dispute among family members
  2. To ensure benefit to all the heirs
  3. To safeguard the wealth and receive maximum benefit from the property
  4. To resolve inheritance tax issues

While wills are vital, they are not a guarantee that an estate will not end up embroiled in probate litigation. Take for instance the estate of Texas billionaire J. Howard Marshall.

The octogenarian married Anna Nicole Smith only thirteen months before his death in 1995. His will does not mention Anna Nicole, but she claimed that she had a verbal agreement with him for half of his estate – an agreement that was made when she agreed to marry him.

More than fifteen years later, this case is supposedly finally settled, having been carried on in the name of Anna Nicole’s young daughter. This case has even gone before the Supreme Court, but mainly due to challenges of jurisdiction and the untimely death of Anna Nicole.

SEE ALSO:  Probate Litigation in Atlanta, Ga.

She had recently filed for bankruptcy, which makes the settling of her estate that much more complicated.

Probate cases can encompass a large number of details and can be difficult to navigate.

They are often emotional minefields as well if the conflict arises within families.

For those facing or bringing probate litigation, a good probate lawyer is a must.

Call Michael C. Daniel @ 706-543-0002  for probate litigation in Athens, Ga. to get the most experienced probate litigation lawyers in Athens, Ga. with over 60 years combined experience at work for you!