Wade H. Watson III

Top rated Estate & Trust Litigation attorney in Atlanta, Georgia

Watson Bonander, LLC
Wade H. Watson III
Watson Bonander, LLC

Practice Areas: Estate & Trust Litigation, Business Litigation, Appellate; view more

Licensed in Georgia since: 1982

Education: University of Georgia School of Law

Selected to Super Lawyers: 2006 - 2024

Watson Bonander, LLC

2200 Century Pkwy NE
Suite 990
Atlanta, GA 30345-3103 Visit website


A founder of Watson Bonander, LLC, Wade H. Watson III offers legal services to people living in Atlanta, Georgia, and throughout Georgia. He focuses his practice on disputes and lawsuits involving wills, trusts, probate and estate administration, and the control and ownership of closely held businesses, corporations, LLCs, business partnerships and family limited partnerships. Mr. Watson also handles cases involving guardianships, powers of attorney and conservatorships, business litigation and civil appeals.

In 1979, Mr. Watson earned a Bachelor of Arts in political science from Emory University. As an undergraduate student, he was a member of several honor societies including The Phi Beta Kappa Society and Pi Sigma Alpha. Mr. Watson then attended the University of Georgia School of Law, graduating cum laude in 1982 with a Juris Doctor.

Dealing with disputes involving one's family or long standing business partners requires careful thought and evaluation. Mr. Watson takes the trust his clients place in him seriously and always acts with their best interests in mind. He understands how confusing the law can be and is committed to giving clients honest and clear information so they can make choices that will benefit them and their family. For over 30 years Mr. Watson has guided clients through these sensitive matters and is known for his compassion and sincerity.

Mr. Watson has given public presentations on topics such as Georgia fiduciary law, declaratory judgments, claims by minority business owners, minor and ward claims, and estate disputes involving a surviving spouse and children of a prior marriage. Furthermore, he is the author of several publications and has served the legal communities in a number of capacities. Mr. Watson is a member of the Atlanta Bar Foundation’s board of directors; he is a member of the Meridian Herald, Inc.’s, board of advisers; and he is a former president of the Atlanta Bar Association.

Practice areas

Estate & Trust Litigation, Business Litigation, Appellate

Focus areas

Will Contests

  • 60% Estate & Trust Litigation
  • 30% Business Litigation
  • 10% Appellate

First Admitted: 1982, Georgia

Professional Webpage: https://watsonbonander.com/wade-watson-litigation-attorney

Pro bono/Community Service:
  • Board of Advisors, Meridian Herald, Inc.
Scholarly Lectures/Writings:
  • "Georgia Court of Appeals Saves Direct Action Remedy and Extends it to Limited Liability Companies," The Litigator (Fall, 2007), Litigation Section of the Atlanta Bar Association
  • "Will Contests: Litigating the Trillion Dollar Inheritance of the Baby Boomers," Verdict, The Journal of the Georgia Trial Lawyers Association (Fall 1997) (with Melissa S. Price, Esq.)
  • "The Development of the Shareholder's Direct Action Damage Remedy," 28 Ga. Bar J. 195 (May 1992) (with J. Bertram Levy, Esq.), cited in Dunaway v. Parker, 215
  • Business Litigation, "Litigating a Breach of Majority Owner Fiduciary Duty in a Closely Held Corporation," paper presented August 21, 2002, Atlanta
  • "Lessons from a Troubled Estate: The Story of Otwell v. Regions Bank," 45th Estate Planning Institute, Institute of Continuing Legal Education of Georgia (February 2000)
  • "How Do You Know If Your Case Is Settled? A Practical Discussion of Georgia Law of Settlement," State Bar of Georgia, Family Law Section Newsletter (September 1993) (with A. Paul Cadenhead, Esq.)
  • "Update on Georgia Fiduciary Law," Institute of Continuing Legal Education, Update on Georgia Law Seminar, February 2009
  • "Update on Georgia Fiduciary Law," Financial Planning Association of Georgia Regional Conference, February 2009
  • "Avoiding or Engaging in Fiduciary and Probate Litigation," Estate Planning Conference, Georgia Society of CPAs (July 19, 2007)
  • "Tips On Making It Work, etc.," Atlanta Bar Association Continuing Legal Education, Transitioning to Solo or Small Firm Practice (February 2004)
  • "Engagement Letters," Atlanta Bar Association Estate Planning and Probate Section (June 2003)
  • "Compromised Claims of Minors/Wards," Probate Court Judges Fall Training, COAG Conference, November 17, 2010
  • "Lifetime Transfers to a Second Spouse: Hard Issues and Their Resolution Through Mediation," Fiduciary Law Institute, July, 2010
  • Cum Laude, University of Georgia
  • 2008 Distinguished Service Award, Atlanta Bar Association
Educational Background:
  • Emory University, Bachelor of Arts, Political Science, Phi Beta Kappa, Omicron Delta Kappa, Mortar Board, Pi Sigma Alpha, 1979
Bar/Professional Activity:
  • Fellow, American Bar Foundation (2016). The ABF advances justice through empirical research on the law, legal processes, and the law’s impact on society. Fellows are selected to recognize their leadership in the profession, service to society, and commitment to the ideals and objectives of the American Bar Association., 2016
  • Presenter, “The Case For Going To Court: How Declaratory Judgment Actions Can Help Fiduciaries (and Beneficiaries).” Atlanta Bar Estate Planning and Probate Section Meeting, Fall 2017., 2017
  • Master, The Cooper American Inn of Court (October 2015 – present). The American Inn of Court is an association of lawyers, judges, professors, and students who aspire to foster excellence in professionalism, ethics, civility and legal skills. The Lamar Chapter is affiliated with Emory University School of Law and focuses on litigation. The Chapter is named after Joseph Rucker Lamar, a former Justice of the Georgia Supreme Court and of the United States Supreme Court., 2015
  • Member, State Bar of Georgia
  • Board of Directors, Atlanta Bar Foundation
  • The Atlanta Bar Association, Immediate Past President (2014-2015); President (2013-2014), Secretary (2011-2012), Treasurer (2010-2011), Board of Directors, Member-at-Large (2004-2009)
  • Member, American Bar Association
  • Guest Faculty, Emory University School of Law, Trial Techniques Program, April 3, 2004
  • Member, Atlanta Lawyers Club
  • Atlanta Bar Association, Long Range Planning Committee (2008), Board of Directors, Litigation Section (2004-2009), Chair, Sole Practitioner and Small Firm Section (2002-2003), Member, Estate Planning and Probate Section
  • Chair, Editorial Board of The Atlanta Lawyer (2003-2008)
Special Licenses/Certifications:
  • Registered Mediator-Georgia Office of Dispute Resolution, 2018
  • Wade Watson and Laura Bonander recently obtained summary judgment for clients who were co-executors and co-trustees in a declaratory judgment action seeking guidance from the Long County Superior Court on their responsibilities to provide information to trust beneficiaries when the trust document stated they had no such obligation. The Court agreed that there was no such obligation and granted summary judgment in their favor. Dodd, et al., v. Dodd, et al., Long County Superior Court, Civil Action File No. SUV2018000176 (2020). In the same case, Wade and Laura obtained summary judgment on counterclaims filed by a trust beneficiary for fraud and breach of trust. The Court held that the trust beneficiary could not prove damages for either claim because he had no right to any trust funds while the lifetime beneficiary was still living. Dodd, et al., v. Dodd, et al., Long County Superior Court, Civil Action File No. SUV2018000176 (2020)., 2020
  • Wade Watson and Laura Bonander recently obtained an award of $90,000 for attorneys’ fees and expenses their clients incurred in responding to a frivolous motion that accused the firm and its clients of fraud and sought to disqualify the attorneys from the case. After the trial court denied the motion to disqualify, the firm filed a motion seeking an award under the provisions of O.C.G.A. § 9-15-14, which allows recovery of attorney’s fees and expenses where an attorney or party brings or defends an action lacking substantial justification. After holding an evidentiary hearing, the trial court agreed that the opposing party’s motion lacked substantial justification and awarded $90,000 against the opposing party and his lawyers. The Court of Appeals denied an application for interlocutory appeal of the award on December 29, 2020. The case is Dodd et al. v. Dodd et al., Long County Superior Court, Civil Action File No. SUV2018000176., 2021
  • Kothari v. Patel, 262 Ga. App. 168, 585 S.E. 2d 97 (2003)
  • Ford Motor Co. v. Stubblefield, 171 Ga. App. 331, 319 S.E. 2d 470 (1984)
  • Norman v. Gober (II), 288 Ga. 754, 707 S.E.2d 98 (2013)
  • Hood v. Todd, 287 Ga. 164, 695 S.E.2d 31 (2010)
  • West v. West, 825 F. Supp. 1033 (N.D. Ga. 1992)
  • Norman v. Gober (I), 288 Ga. 754, 707 S.E.2d 98 (2011)
  • Otwell v. Regions Bank, Superior Court of Hall County (1997)
  • Hasty v. Castleberry, 293 Ga. 727, 749 S.E.2d 676 (2013)
  • Reinhardt University v. Castleberry, 293 Ga.App. 727, 734 S.E.2d 117 (2012)

These comments were made by fellow attorneys during the annual nomination process.

“One of the best in his field. Very knowledgeable.”

“Wade brings his strong leadership skills, human compassion, sense of humor and keen intellect to his practice.”

“One of the best legal writers I have ever seen.”

Office location for Wade H. Watson III

2200 Century Pkwy NE
Suite 990
Atlanta, GA 30345-3103

Phone: 404-876-0049


19 Years Super Lawyers
  • Super Lawyers: 2006 - 2024

Additional sources of information about Wade H. Watson III

Attorney resources for Wade H. Watson III

Page Generated: 0.15164995193481 sec