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Petition For Year’s Support May Serve You If Your Spouse Passed During The Pandemic

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In the past few years, it’s safe to say that many people who passed away suddenly during the pandemic likely did so without having a will or estate plan in place. Many of those people had spouses and minor children. Many did not have great wealth either. In some instances, they may have been completely insolvent. For this reason, I am educating readers about the proceeding known as Petition for Year’s Support.

A Two-Year Filing Deadline

One important point is that the petitioner has two years from the time the loved one passed in which to file a Petition for Year’s Support. The Petition came about from a recognized duty of a spouse to protect and provide for his or her surviving spouse and minor children, and to supply their immediate wants and necessities during the period of administration of the decedent spouse’s estate. Under Georgia law, a surviving spouse may file the petition asking the court to set aside an award of an amount sufficient to support the spouse for 12 months.

Common Instances For Filing Petition For Year’s Support

Below are the most common circumstances in which a petition for Year’s Support could be considered.

The first and perhaps most common use is where the estate is insolvent.  An award of Year’s Support has highest priority under Georgia law and takes precedence over all other estate claims including funeral expenses, last illness expenses and creditor claims.  However, secured claims such as mortgages and car loans are not included.

When the estate is very small is another common instance when Year’s Support is used. This is often more expedient and less expensive than other probate proceedings while allowing for the avoidance of creditor claims. This works best when the spouse is the only heir, or when other heirs don’t object to the spouse receiving whatever assets are in the estate.

If the decedent did not have a Last Will and Testament, is another common instance when one would file a Petition for Year’s Support.  As with a very small estate, it is often more efficient and slightly less costly. The larger the estate, however, the less likely that a Petition for Year’s Support will be the procedure of choice.

Another beneficial purpose for filing a Petition for Year’s Support is to waive property taxes. The Georgia statute allows the property taxes on the decedent’s primary residence to be “set aside” either in the year of death, or alternatively in the year of the filing of the petition

Lastly, this proceeding is often used where in a second or later marriage the surviving spouse was either omitted from the decedent’s Will or was left only a token amount.  In these instances, the spouse can petition the court and often be awarded some amount from the decedent’s estate.

The Death Of A Loved One Is Devastating Enough Without Being Left Destitute Too

The pandemic left so many people stunned as spouses suddenly passed away. Far too often minor children tragically lost both parents. If the unexpected death of a loved one isn’t tragic enough, it’s even worse for the survivors to be left destitute. If you are in a position where your loved one was taken from you and you still have time to consider filing a Petition for Year’s Support, give our office a call at 404-370-0696.


Looking to find an experienced estate lawyer in the Georgia area who is skilled in asset protection and estate plan preparation? Shannon Pawley is an attorney in Georgia with expertise in estate planning and asset protection. Shannon can provide assistance with creating an estate plan to include making a will and how to establish a trust properly. If you have questions about asset protection or questions about making an estate plan, reach out to Shannon and she will be glad to help answer all the estate planning questions you might have!

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