“Litigation” is a term used to describe what happens when an estate matter becomes “contested.” Usually, in the probate and estate arena, litigation occurs where a person with a legal interest in the estate believes that the decedent’s Last Will and Testament is invalid, or even if valid, has certain legal or factual problems that require a judge or jury to resolve. In the guardianship arena, litigation most often occurs when a guardianship petition is filed and a person who is a relative objects to the guardianship or objects to the Court appointing a particular individual as Guardian of the Person or Conservator. Sometimes, litigation occurs in both estates and guardianships where it is believed that the Executor, Administrator, Conservator or Guardian of Person has mismanaged their duties, converted monies, or has failed to fulfill their legal obligations and duties to the estate or guardianship. Litigation involves all matters leading up to the Court’s decision, including filing motions, deposing witnesses, subpoenaing documents and testimony, and ultimately trying the case to the judge or jury. Therefore, it is important that the lawyer or law firm have significant experience in courtroom appearances, witness examination and trial experience, with various attorney's and support staff with varying areas of expertise, to litigate effectively.
Andrew, Merritt, Reilly & Smith, L.L.P. employs multiple lawyers with years of courtroom experience. Most of our attorney’s have litigated in all of the local federal and state courts, including probate courts across the State, the Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court of Georgia. In fact, our lead probate, estate and guardianship litigator, Raymon Burns, has tried more than one hundred (100) jury trials in his career. Few lawyers can boast that kind of experience. Attorney Mike Smith has been involved in estate matters that have required combination of litigation, accounting and audit matters not only in the United States, but also in Mexico and Europe. In fact, Mr. Smith has been involved in over one thousand five hundred (1,500) estate matters in his career, making court appearances in a majority of the cases. The Firm has routinely represented both sides in Will contests, guardianship disputes, real estate concerns, and audit, accounting and removal actions.
If you wish to contact the Firm about a litigation matter, it will be necessary to schedule an appointment to meet with the lawyer. You will need to bring any documents you have relative to the dispute, and be prepared to spend a minimum of one (1) hour in conference.