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What Is a Petition For Year’s Support In Georgia Probate?

A petition for Year’s Support in Georgia probate can be filed by or on behalf of a surviving spouse or minor children.  The petition asks the probate court to set aside an award of an amount to support the spouse and/or minor children for 12 months.

When Is a Petition For Year’s Support Filed?

There are several reasons to file a petition for year’s support.

First, when the estate is insolvent, the surviving spouse will often file a petition for year’s support.  The award of year’s support has the highest priority under Georgia law, and is paid first from the estate (but for secured claims).

When an estate is very small it is often common to file a Year’s Support petition.  This is quicker and more efficient than probating the estate, and allows the avoidance of creditor claims.

A year’s support petition is also often used when the surviving spouse was either omitted from the decedent’s will or left only a small amount under the will.  The surviving spouse can petition for year’s support and often be awarded a greater amount from the decedent’s estate.

What If The Will Made a Provision For The Spouse In Lieu Of Year’s Support?

A testator by will may make provision for the spouse in lieu of year’s support, in which case the surviving spouse must make an election.  GA Code 53-3-3.

If the will contains such a provision, then any award by the Georgia court for year’s support is in lieu of the provisions of the will, i.e., the surviving spouse forfeits the bequest under the will.

What Is the Deadline To File a Petition For Year’s Support?

The petition for Year’s Support must be filed within 24 months after decedent’s death.

When Is a Right To Year’s Support Barred Under Georgia Law?

A surviving spouse’s right to year’s support is barred by the marriage or death of the spouse prior to the filing of the petition for year’s support.

A minor child’s right to year’s support is barred by the marriage or death of the minor or by the minor’s attaining the age of 18 years prior to the filing of the petition for year’s support.

See GA Code § 53-3-2.

What Is Included In a Petition for Year’s Support?

The petition shall set forth, as applicable, the full name of the surviving spouse, the full name and birthdate of each surviving minor child, and a schedule of the property, including household furniture, that the petitioner proposes to have set apart as year’s support. The petition shall describe fully and accurately any real property the petitioner proposes to have set apart as year’s support with a legal description sufficient under the laws of this state to pass title to the real property.  GA Code § 53-3-5.

What Is the Amount of the Year’s Support?

There is no set amount of the year’s support under Georgia law.  The amount of the year’s award is left to the court’s discretion.  The court also has the discretion to award nothing.  The amount awarded must be supported by evidence, and must be reasonably related to the amount needed by the surviving spouse or minor children to maintain his or her standard of living for 12 months.


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