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Monday, July 26, 2010

Who May Bring a Wrongful Death Claim in Georgia?

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Law Firm in Atlanta: L. Ty Wilson, P.C.


When a person dies due to the negligence of another, the survivors of the victim may be able to bring a wrongful death claim. This article provides general information on wrongful death claims in Georgia and who may be entitled to bring such a claim.
In the wake of an unimaginable family tragedy, such as the loss of a loved one due to an accident or through another’s negligence, there remain many practical and emotional concerns. The loss of a spouse, a parent, or child leaves voids in a family that can never be mended. Some voids are emotional, and others more tangible, for instance the loss of financial support once provided by the head of a household. While monetary concerns are not an immediate focus in the aftermath of loss, financial compensation may be an important element of the loved one’s contribution to family life, and can be at least partially remedied through a wrongful death claim. If faced with the task of creating a new life after a family member’s passing, there are some important things you should know about the process.

As in most states, Georgia law recognizes the rights of surviving family members to receive compensation from the responsible party in an accident or fatal incident. These rights follow a hierarchy based on a victim’s surviving family members. Generally, the spouse of a victim may pursue compensation for the loss of financial support, medical expenses incurred during the incident, pain and suffering endured by the individual before their death. In the event the victim was unmarried, or in the case of a previously deceased spouse, the victim’s children may pursue compensation. Should both a spouse and children survive the loved one, the spouse may pursue a settlement that will be divided equally between themselves and any surviving children. In the event of a victim with neither spouse nor children, the parents of the deceased may pursue compensation in a settlement.

A wrongful death claim may be filed by family members in cases in which a loved one died as result of negligence or lack of precautions on the part of another. This may include - but is not limited to - car accident, industrial accident, negligent homicide, or work-related injury. In these cases, a thorough investigation of the causes behind the death are required to prove the claimant’s assertion that the death was preventable if not for the negligent action (or inaction) of another party or parties. This investigation may involve depositions, review of evidence provided by officials or medical professionals, etc. While the process is involved, and may deepen the emotional wounds suffered by family members as the result of loss, the settlement provided can help provide for loved ones and cover future expenses (such as college education) that would have been provided by the loved one had the accident not occurred. The advice of a qualified wrongful death attorney can ease the emotional burden associated with the discovery and settlement process.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Ty Wilson
Ty Wilson is an Atlanta injury lawyer who has dedicated his career to educating the injured and their families. He has written several books and reports that he offers free to the public.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Why Avoid Probate?

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When you use a last will as your primary instrument of vehicle transfer your estate must pass through the process of probate.
Many people are not aware of the fact that the probate court is involved and that it is going to examine the will to attest to its validity. The court then supervises the administration of the estate, with the actual “legwork,” as it were, being done by the estate executor or personal representative.

The above sounds well and good, but there are pitfalls involved in the probate process that lead many people to go a different route in an effort to avoid probate. For one thing, because probate is an open and public proceeding it provides a forum within which disgruntled parties could choose to challenge the will. Many people would prefer to keep this avenue closed so that their wishes will be carried out to the letter without the involvement of the court.


Another reason why people often avoid probate is because it is time-consuming. Depending on the complexity of the case, the specific jurisdiction and the caseload of the court it can take anywhere from several months to several years for the process of probate to run its course. The heirs to the estate do not receive their inheritances during this time, and this time lag is something that many people would rather avoid.

Lastly, there are significant costs associated with the probate process. The executor is entitled to remuneration for his or her time and effort. The executor is going to have to bring in a probate attorney and in many cases an accountant will be necessary as well, and of course these professionals charge for their services. Plus, the probate court itself charges a fee so when you add it all up probate can consume a significant percentage of your estate.

The good news is that there are probate avoidance strategies available to you, and the best way to learn more about them would be to arrange for a consultation with an experienced estate planning attorney.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Gary Hicks
Experienced estate planning attorneys of the Ryan Hicks Cumpton & Cumpton LLP offer estate planning and business planning resources to residents of Mobile AL.