You know you ought to have a will, but what happens if you pass on before you get around to making one? What happens is Georgia law dictates the distribution of your estate, known as intestate succession.
Understanding what intestate succession entails can convince you to call an estate planning attorney as soon as possible to begin drafting a will.
Purpose of a will
The purpose of a will is to make clear your wishes for the distribution of your assets, along with naming any guardians and other legal appointments your circumstances may require. A current, thorough and valid will usually goes through probate quickly and offers protection to your beneficiaries. This leads to savings in time and money through fewer disputes, legal fees and taxes.
Definition of intestate succession
If you do not have a will, the court decides who gets what and how much according to state regulations. The only way to avoid this process is if all heirs agree on asset division. The estate also must not have any debt, or else any creditors must also agree to the settlement of the estate.
Georgia intestacy laws
Your spouse and children will have first rights to the estate, with your spouse receiving at least one-third no matter how many children you have. If you have no children, your spouse will receive everything. If you have children but no spouse, they (or their children if yours die before you do) will receive equal shares of the estate. When you have no spouse or children, your parents and siblings are the first in line to inherit your property. Extended family members are next when immediate ones are not present. In the unlikely scenario that you have no heirs, the state will obtain everything.
You can easily protect your assets from intestate succession. Create a will and other estate plans to avoid the confusion and disappointment of the state choosing your beneficiaries for you.