Thinking about the future can be daunting, especially when it comes to making decisions about what you want to happen after you’re gone. However, if you don’t have a will, you might end up putting your loved ones in an unnecessarily problematic position during an already difficult time. In Georgia (and in many other states) dying without a will—legally known as dying “intestate”—can lead to many complications that can be avoided with proper estate planning.


When someone dies intestate, state law dictates how their assets will be distributed. This means you have no control over who inherits your property, which can be particularly problematic if you have specific wishes for certain belongings, or if there are potential heirs you would prefer to exclude. The absence of a will can result in assets being divided in ways that might cause conflict between loved ones, and that might not align with your personal desires.


The distribution process starts with appointing an estate administrator, who is responsible for managing and distributing your estate. This person is typically a close relative, but if there is any disagreement among family members over who is best-suited to this role, it can lead to delays and conflicts. This underscores the importance of properly drafting a will, and ensuring that your possessions are handled according to your wishes.


Georgia law outlines a specific order of inheritance. If you are married with children, your spouse and children will share your estate equally, with your spouse receiving at least one-third of the assets. If you have no children, your spouse inherits everything. In the absence of a spouse or children, the estate passes to other relatives in a predefined sequence. This can sometimes result in distant relatives inheriting your assets, which might not be your intention.


Additionally, dying without a will can lead to higher legal fees and a prolonged probate process, adding financial and emotional stress during an already trying time. Proper estate planning, including the creation of a will, can mitigate these issues by clearly outlining your wishes and simplifying the legal process after your death.


Creating a will streamlines the probate process and allows you to designate beneficiaries, choose an executor to manage your estate, and make specific bequests. It also provides an opportunity to establish guardianship for minor children, ensuring they are cared for by individuals you trust. This aspect of estate planning is crucial for parents who want to secure their children’s future.


Those that prefer to keep their families and estates out of the courthouse can opt for a revocable living trust which has all the benefits of a will with the additional benefit of avoiding the need for the probate process.


By engaging in comprehensive estate planning, you can minimize administrative headaches and provide your loved ones with clear instructions and peace of mind, knowing that they are carrying out your wishes as intended.


Contact the Estate Planning Law Group of Georgia

If you have any questions about setting up a trust or about any aspect of your estate plan, do not hesitate to reach out to the experienced attorneys at the Estate Planning Law Group of Georgia. Fill out the form below and start securing your legacy today.

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