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(a) As used in this Code section, the term:
(1) “Court” means a probate court or any superior court on appeal or transfer from a probate court.
(2) “Interested persons” means all persons whose interests would be affected by the approval of a settlement agreement in the manner provided in this Code section.
(b) The court may approve a settlement agreement under which probate is granted or denied or providing for a disposition of the property contrary to the terms of the will, if all interested persons consent and any duly qualified personal representative or temporary administrator is served with notice of the petition to approve such settlement agreement.
(c) A proceeding to approve a settlement agreement under this Code section may be commenced by an interested person or by any duly qualified personal representative or temporary administrator. Service of notice of a petition to approve a settlement agreement under this Code section shall be made in the manner provided by Chapter 11 of this title to all the interested persons, any duly qualified personal representative or temporary administrator, and such other persons as the court may direct.
(d) Approval of any settlement agreement that provides for the probate of the will, the sustaining of the caveat, or the disposition of the property contrary to the terms of the will shall be after such additional service of notice and such hearing as the court may direct in the exercise of its sound discretion. At any such hearing, the court may require or receive such evidence as the court may deem appropriate and may determine whether there is a bona fide contest or controversy.
(e) All interested persons who are sui juris shall be authorized to enter into a settlement agreement, which shall be assented to in writing by all such interested persons.
(f) All interested persons who are not sui juris or who are unborn or unknown shall be represented in such proceedings by an independent guardian ad litem. It shall be the duty of the guardian ad litem to investigate the proposed settlement and report to the court such guardian's findings and recommendations. The court shall take the recommendations into consideration but shall not be bound by such recommendations; provided, however, that, for purposes of subsection (b) of this Code section, the guardian ad litem's recommendation that the court approve the settlement agreement shall constitute consent to the settlement agreement by the guardian ad litem on behalf of all interested persons represented by such guardian.
(g) If a trust designated in the will to take an interest in real or personal property would have such interest affected by the settlement agreement:
(1) The provisions of such agreement affecting such interest shall satisfy the requirements of Code Section 53-12-9 in order to be binding on the trust, the trustee, any trust director, and the trust beneficiaries; and
(2) A probate court not subject to Article 6 of Chapter 9 of Title 15, upon its own motion or upon the motion of any interested person or duly qualified personal representative or temporary administrator, shall enter an order transferring the proceeding to approve the settlement agreement to the superior court to which an appeal would lie under Code Section 5-3-2.
(h) A judgment entered by the court approving the settlement agreement shall be conclusive in the same manner as probate in solemn form, as provided by Code Section 53-5-20.
(i) Entering into or petitioning a court regarding a settlement agreement under this Code section shall not constitute a violation of a condition in terrorem under Code Section 53-4-68.
Cite this article: FindLaw.com - Georgia Code Title 53. Wills, Trusts, and Administration of Estates § 53-5-25 - last updated April 14, 2021 | https://codes.findlaw.com/ga/title-53-wills-trusts-and-administration-of-estates/ga-code-sect-53-5-25/
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