How to Seek a Year’s Support

The death of a cherished family member can be devastating, especially if they contributed to the household’s income. Under Georgia law, surviving spouses and minor children can seek a year’s support from the estate. The process might sound simple, but there are many factors to consider in your petition. By working with a skilled probate attorney, you have the best chance to secure the maximum support possible. The Wilbanks Law Firm has helped many clients seeking a year’s support, and we’re ready to hear your story so we can help you.

Learn more about a year’s support, how it’s calculated, and how to apply.

How Does Year Support Work?

Under Georgia’s probate laws, creditors are paid from an estate before beneficiaries after someone dies. However, a surviving spouse or child can step to the front of the line to receive property or assets from the estate by making a claim for a year’s support.

A year’s support claim is designed to assist survivors in maintaining a quality of life after a spouse or parent dies. A year’s support is a permanent award, despite the name.

Who Qualifies for a Year’s Support?

There are a few people who can make a year’s support claim, with some exceptions to consider. A decedent’s surviving spouse and their surviving children can apply for a year’s support if they meet the necessary requirements.

A spouse can apply for a year’s support if they have not remarried. Children can apply for a year’s support if they are younger than 18 at the time of filing and they’re not married.

When Should You Consider a Year’s Support?

Making a year’s support claim is advantageous in many situations. Your loved one might have died without a will in place, or they might have several outstanding debts. Georgia’s probate laws dictate the order that an estate is paid out. Creditors are at the front of the line.

Your petition for a year’s support can put you ahead of most creditors, thanks to Georgia’s probate laws. Dylan and his staff can help you explore the benefits of a year’s support claim.

How to File for a Year’s Support

Once you’ve decided to file for a year’s support, you can work with your attorney to ensure that your petition is accurate. It’s possible to have your petition rejected if there are mistakes or inaccuracies, so having an attorney’s help is critical.

When you file for a year’s support after your spouse’s death, you’ll need to show that you were legally married. You’ll need documentation proving your marriage and that your spouse is dead. You have 24 months after their death to file your petition, so work quickly but carefully.

What’s Included in a Year’s Support Petition?

There is critical information that must be included in your petition. You’ll need to include whether the decedent had a will. If they did, you must tell the court you aren’t going to probate the will. You must also list any property you are seeking in your petition.

You must also list any heirs, beneficiaries, creditors, or other interested parties.

Submitting Your Petition

You’ll submit your completed year’s support petition with the probate court of the county the decedent lived in. For instance, a Commerce resident, assuming that is also where the decedent lived, would submit their petition with the Jackson County Probate Court. You’ll need to pay a filing fee, along with other necessary court costs, before the process begins.

Processing Your Petition

Once you’ve filed your petition for a year’s support, the court will begin reviewing it for “deficiencies.” Simply put, they’re checking to see if they need any additional information from you before preparing a notice. This notice will be served to all creditors, heirs, beneficiaries, or other interested parties. There will be a notice published in the local paper as well.

Anyone else who may have an interest in the decedent’s estate will have the opportunity to file a caveat, or an objection to your petition. If there is a caveat filed, the court will schedule a hearing where both sides can express their arguments. The court will determine the percentage of the estate’s property you will be awarded. Once every court fee is paid, you’ll receive your support.

FAQs about a Year’s Support

What Assets Can You Claim in a Year’s Support?

Anything that can be probated can be claimed in a year’s support petition. Exempt assets include retirement accounts or life insurance policies. Jointly-owned property transfers directly to the other owner, so you may not need to apply for it.

How Much Can I Request in a Petition?

There is no guaranteed amount you’d receive by filing your year’s support petition, but whatever is requested will be granted in the absence of any objection. The court decides how much of the estate you are entitled to, so having the evidence to back your claim is essential. In some cases, you might be able to request the entire estate, and if no one contests your claim, the court may approve your petition. However, it’s best to work with an attorney to calculate your year’s support.

How Does a Year’s Support Affect Wills?

You might question whether you should apply for a year’s support if you are named as a beneficiary in your loved one’s will. They may have included a clause that allows you to apply for a year’s support, or the will might state you cannot petition for support. You should also consider whether you think you’ll receive any assets if there are creditors looking to settle debts. We are prepared to help you assess all of the factors that go into making this decision.

Should I Hire a Probate Lawyer Before I Apply for a Year’s Support?

Many of our legal proceedings don’t require working with a lawyer, but in most situations, you’d be in a better position working with an attorney from the start. When you’re considering a year’s support, you must factor in any debts, the number of creditors, and the available assets. Discussing these factors with an attorney can help prepare you for the outcome.

Call Us Now

When you’re facing the probate process, you might feel overwhelmed. You’re already dealing with the loss of a loved one, and now there’s the chance you won’t get enough from their estate to support yourself. At the Wilbanks Law Firm, we understand that feeling, and we’re here to help you.

Attorney and founder Dylan Wilbanks has been a civil litigator for more than 20 years. He has helped many clients work through their probate needs. He knows the benefits a year’s support petition can offer, and he’s ready to help you with that process.

Call (706) 510-0000 or use our online form to schedule your free evaluation.