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Who are the people who will inherit the estate in Georgia?

On Behalf of | Apr 12, 2024 | ESTATE PLANNING - Estate Administration & Probate

Inheritance, a core aspect of estate administration, can be complex. Figuring out who gets what after someone passes away can be daunting. Fortunately, laws exist to bring order and peace to this process.

However, the process can vary, especially when it comes to who will inherit the estate. In Georgia, the answer to this question largely depends on whether the deceased person left a will.

Designated beneficiaries if there’s a will

When a person leaves behind a will, this legally binding document dictates who gets what. It serves as a guide for distributing the deceased person’s assets. The executor, a role designated in the will, has the responsibility to carry out the wishes outlined in the document.

This executor ensures that the assets and properties reach the intended beneficiaries. The beneficiaries—be it family members, friends or organizations—are named in the will. They are set to inherit everything from money to personal items, real estate properties and more.

Heirs if there’s no will

But what happens when there is no will? In such cases, Georgia’s intestate succession law takes over. This law determines who the heirs are, focusing on the closest relatives first:

  1. Spouse, no children: When the deceased was married and had no children, the spouse inherits everything.
  2. Spouse and children: If there are children, the law divides the assets equally among spouses and children. But, the spouse’s share is not less than a third.
  3. Children, no spouse: If the deceased has no surviving spouse, the children would receive everything.
  4. Parents: If no surviving children or spouses exist, the law turns to the deceased’s parents.
  5. Siblings: If the parents are also not alive, the deceased’s siblings will inherit the estate.
  6. Distant relatives: Without immediate family members, the estate may be distributed to more distant relatives, such as aunts, uncles or cousins.

Georgia law provides a structure for handling the deceased’s estate in a fair and orderly manner, whether there is a will or not.

Addressing the complexities of estate administration

Understanding inheritance can alleviate some of the stress associated with the loss of a loved one. However, diving into this topic can be overwhelming. Those seeking clarity on these matters should consider consulting an attorney. An attorney can provide guidance on how these laws apply to your specific circumstances.