Petition for Year’s Support: How Can it Help You After a Loved One’s Death?

Have you heard of petitioning the Georgia probate courts for “Year’s Support”? Not many people are aware of this procedure to administer an estate or probate a Will. A year’s support award is a permanent award of property from a decedent’s estate to the decedent’s surviving spouse, surviving minor children, or both. It comes from a commonly accepted idea that it is a duty of a spouse to provide for their family.


Hurley Elder Care Law’s client, Mary, benefitted from this process when her husband, Dave, died suddenly of a heart attack. Mary learned in the months before Dave died, he opened several credit cards in his name and maxed them out for his new business. Mary was worried she would go broke paying off Dave’s credit card debt and she might have to sell the house on which they had just made their final mortgage payment.


Can Year’s Support Help with Debt?

Dave’s Will left everything to Mary. She worried about paying his debt. Mary met with our attorney to discuss her options. We told Mary about the Petition for Year’s Support and how she could use this to save the home and other assets of Dave’s from going to the creditors.


We explained Year’s Support can allow Mary to inherit all of Dave’s estate, regardless of what is written in the Will and what unsecured debts that Dave may have owed during life. When a Year’s Support petition is granted by the probate court, that property claimed as a Year’s Support passes from the estate of the deceased to the surviving spouse and/or minor children free of debt. The property can include real estate, cash, stocks, bonds, personal belongings, automobiles, and any other thing that a person can own.


Hurley Elder Care Law filed the Petition to Probate Dave’s Will along with the Petition for Year’s Support asking for Dave’s interest in the house and Dave’s bank accounts. The Petition for Year’s Support would be served on all Dave’s creditors and the beneficiaries under the Will (in this case she was the only beneficiary). Once the Letters of Testamentary were issued and the Order granting a Year’s Support was signed by the judge, Mary would get the House and Dave’s accounts and would not have to pay off the credit card debt in Dave’s name!


Call Hurley Elder Care Law with any of your probate questions at 404-843-0121.

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