One of the questions we get from time to time is, “What happens if I die without a Will in Georgia? That's a good question. Hi, I'm attorney, Joel Beck, of The Beck Law Firm LLC in Lawrenceville, Georgia. In today's short video we'll answer that question.
If you die without a Will you're said to have died intestate. Each state has laws that set forth what will happen to your assets. Some people think that assets will go to the state but that's generally not true. Because you don't have a Will in place, the state essentially creates one for you, though it's likely not the plan you would put in place if you made a plan. Here's what often happens: 1) If you're married but have no children, your spouse will inherit your probatable assets; 2) if you have children but are not married, your children will inherit those assets and share them equally; 3) if you are both married and have children, your spouse and children will share equally in your estate, provided that the spouse's share will not be less than one third share of the probatable estate.
Now, if you don't have a spouse or children, then the courts will look to find your next of kin – parents and grandparents, grandchildren, siblings, nieces, nephews, cousins, so on and so forth. Only if after an exhaustive search no relative can be found, that's the only time that possibly assets would go to the state. Many valuable assets won't be distributed through the laws of intestate succession. For example, retirement accounts and life insurance policies will be paid out to the beneficiary designation that you have made with the retirement fund company or with the life insurance company on the beneficiary designation forms that you've completed. Also, assets that are held as joint tenants with right of survivorship will pass automatically to the other surviving owner.
It's likely that this plan created by the state is not the ideal plan for you. That's why it makes sense to do your own planning so that you can protect yourself, your loved ones, and your wishes. If you'd like to request some information on estate planning that just might show you that planning in Georgia is likely easier than you think it will be, give us a call and ask for our free estate planning information. We'll get it out to you right away, no strings attached. And, if you'd like to speak with an experienced estate planning attorney, feel free to contact us here at The Beck Law Firm LLC. You can reach us at 678-344-5342.