If losing a loved one to Covid-19 weren’t cruel enough, current delays in probate are adding insult to injury by tying up inheritances and forcing folks to swallow continued fees.
In March, the Georgia Supreme Court declared a statewide judicial emergency, asking courts to limit services to protect the public. Inevitably this triggered a delay in document processing which exacerbated an already-significant backlog. Though many probate courts across the state have resumed normal office hours, including those in Fulton and Gwinnett County, the statewide judicial emergency remains in effect and continues to hamper processing times.
Technology to the rescue (sort of)
In response to the continued need for emergency measures, the GA Supreme Court has encouraged the use of technological advances where appropriate to process pending cases. Unfortunately, not all issues may be resolved by this means. An experienced estate planning attorney will be able to tell you whether yours is one of the lucky cases that can be addressed digitally.
What if e-filing isn’t an option?
Far too many folks find themselves in this position and, unfortunately, the facts are grim. With so many aspects of a society stuck in a holding pattern, the truth is that delays are inevitable. Nonetheless, an experienced attorney can help. Professional assistance not only ensures your documents are filed correctly and efficiently, but also provides the peace of mind of knowing your case is moving through the quickest-flowing channel.
Prevention is the best medicine.
While for many it may be too late, for many more the best way to avoid delays in probate is to implement an estate plan. By taking advantage of such vehicles as a revocable living trust, assets can pass directly to heirs without first being subject to lengthy delays and escalating judicial costs. Likewise, working with a lawyer to determine when joint ownership or strategic gift-giving might work to your advantage can dramatically speed up estate processing times.
Elder law estate planning attorneys are open for business.
Amid a life-threatening pandemic it only makes sense that elder law offices would be deemed an essential service. After all, it is hard to think of a time when organizing one’s assets has been more important. Luckily, then, avoiding probate continues to be as easy as ever. All that is required is foresight and a quick call to our office. With the details of your individual case in mind, we’d be happy to set you and your family on the easiest path to long-term economic security.
Contact Attorney James M. Miskell