If you die without a will in Georgia, your assets will go to your closest relatives under state “intestate succession” laws. Most likely, your estate will need to go through a probate process, especially if there are assets. It is a different and more complicated process than if you had died with a will. The probate court will appoint an administrator to make sure your assets are distributed. The administrator is usually a spouse or an heir.
Any assets leftover after your debts are paid off will go to your living relatives. If you have no living relatives, then any assets will go to the state. If you have a spouse and/or children, your whole estate is divided among them, with the spouse receiving no less than one-third of the estate. The law sets out which relatives will inherit your estate in each specific circumstance, including in the cases of deceased children or spouses, adopted children, stepchildren, and more. Georgia intestate succession laws can be found online at O.C.G.A § 53-2-1. This code section strictly determines how the assets will be divided.
These probate laws can be tricky. To alleviate the confusion and put your mind at rest, it is best to go ahead and draft a will. Talk to an experienced North Georgia attorney now to make a plan that you are at peace with. Call 706-406-1649 now for a free consultation with an attorney at Harriss & Hartman Law Firm! Our firm also represents executors and administrators in the handling of estates in Catoosa, Walker, and Dade counties. Call 706-406-1649 now for a free consultation.