Baltimore, MD asked in Estate Planning and Real Estate Law for Georgia

Q: Probating 3 different estates, all revolving around 1 piece of property that is located in another state?

My mom's parents owned a home together in GA (w/o rights of survivorship). They had 3 kids (#1, 2, & 3). Kid #1 died in 2001 & has 3 children. My grandma then died in GA in Sept 2003, presumably leaving her half of the home to my grandpa & her children/grandkids.

Kid #2 (my mom) died in VA in Dec 2003, presumably leaving anything she would have inherited to her husband (my dad), my siblings & I. My grandfather died in GA in 2005. None of the deceaseds' estates were ever probated.

Now that I am an adult (and a lawyer-not licensed in GA!), I have been tasked with probating the estates of my mom and grandparents. It is clear to me that the heirs of my grandparents are: the children of kid #1, me & my siblings, and kid #3.

My question is what is the simplest way to probate these estates to ensure that my dad receives his due share of the home? Will the estates have to be probated 1 by 1? If the only thing in my mom's estate is her share of this GA home, could GA handle her probate?

1 Lawyer Answer
Robert W. Hughes Jr.
Robert W. Hughes Jr.
  • Estate Planning Lawyer
  • Lawrenceville, GA
  • Licensed in Georgia

A: First, get a lawyer to help you through this. By the time to finish with all the issues that will arise, you will find that a lawyer will save you time, and at the end of the day, money. You can only open a probate in the county where the deceased person lived. There are some rare exceptions to this rule and they might apply to you. Therefore, let's hope the real estate is at least in the same state as where one of the deceased lived, or you will be opening a fourth probate matter in the state where the land is.

You need to open the estate of the last to die first, This is because the estate of the last to die is the heir of the person who died first. Therefore, the estate of the first to die cannot be opened until the inheritors of that estate are in place. Hence, you need the last to die estate opened first. Once you open the last to die estate, you can open the first to die estate. Once you get all the estates open, you can then sell the land and make distributions.

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