If you are a resident of Georgia and you pass away without a valid will, you may leave your loved ones with a lot of uncertainty and confusion. State law will decide how your property and assets will be distributed among your surviving relatives, regardless of your wishes or their needs. This may not be the best outcome for your estate or your family.
Georgia intestate laws
When someone dies without a will, the probate court will apply the intestate succession laws of Georgia to determine who inherits what from the estate. These laws are based on a fixed order of priority, starting with the closest relatives and moving down to more distant ones.
According to the intestate succession laws of Georgia, if you die without a will and have a surviving spouse and no children or grandchildren, your spouse will inherit everything. If you have a surviving spouse and children or grandchildren, your spouse and your descendants will share equally in your estate. However, your spouse’s share cannot be less than one-third of the estate.
If you have no surviving spouse but have children or grandchildren, they will inherit everything in equal shares. If any of your children or grandchildren predeceased you, their share will go to their own children (your great-grandchildren), and so on. If you have no surviving spouse, children, grandchildren or other descendants, your parents will inherit everything.
If only one parent is alive, they will inherit everything.
If you have no surviving spouse, children, grandchildren, other descendants or parents, your siblings and their descendants will inherit everything.
If any of your siblings predeceased you, their share will go to their own children (your nieces and nephews), and so on. If you have no surviving spouse, children, grandchildren, other descendants, parents, siblings or their descendants, your grandparents and their descendants will inherit everything. This includes your aunts, uncles, cousins and their children.
If you have no surviving relatives at all, your estate will escheat to the state of Georgia. This means that the state will take over your property and assets. As you can see, the intestate succession laws of Georgia may not reflect your personal preferences.
A will can save your loved ones a lot of trouble
The best way to avoid dying without a will in Georgia is to make one as soon as possible. It will make sure whatever you want to happen after you pass happens. You can also name an executor to manage your estate and a guardian to care for your minor children.