What will happen to your estate without a will in Georgia?
The majority of Americans still don’t have a will. Cost, time and an uncomfortable subject are often cited as reasons to avoid making a will. Despite these hurdles many don’t understand the difficult position that a lack of will can create for your loved ones.
If you are married in Georgia and you die without a will, your property will pass to your heirs through a legal principal called intestate succession. If you have no children the property will pass to your spouse. This seems simple enough, but if you have a charity or a relative that you would like to leave a gift to, intestate succession will not accomplish your goal.
If you have children and die without a will, your property will be divided equally between your children and your surviving spouse, with your surviving spouse guaranteed to receive a minimum of one-third of your estate. Many people assume that their estate will simply pass to their spouse because they are married– that is not the law in Georgia. You need a will to direct your assets and make certain that your spouse is not put into a difficult financial position.
If you have minor children, the significance of a will takes on an additional importance. If both you and your spouse pass, a will is the only legal device in which you can make your wishes known as to who should take care of your children. A judge will ultimately make that decision, but the will lets your preference be known. As a practice, judges give serious consideration to your wishes. Financially, the will can create a simple trust fund that will help provide support for your children on a timeline that you can create. These features cannot be accomplished without a will.
If you don’t have a spouse or children your property will pass to parents that survive you, if none then to your siblings and their children. A will can follow this scheme or alter it to include gifts to friends, charitable donations and even instructions for taking care of pets.
A will can quickly and confidentially be crafted to express your wishes. Additionally a will is more affordable that you might think. Please feel free to contact me with questions or to get a will started.