Preparation Is Critical To Your Case

Preparation Is Critical To Your Case

What if someone dies without a will?

On Behalf of | Mar 26, 2020 | Estate Planning |

There are many concerns that accompany the death of a loved one in Smyrna. One that may not be at the forefront of your mind (at least not initially, that is) is the handling of their estate. This is due to the assumption that they made their wishes known through a will. 

Yet what if they did not? Indeed, statistics show that less than half of American adults do not have a will. You and others with interests in an estate may believe that if no will exists, the estate’s heirs would determine its distribution. Unfortunately, that is not the case. 

Detailing Georgia’s intestate succession laws 

State laws exist that dictate the administration of an estate of one who dies intestate (without a will). These are in Section 53-2-1 of the Georgia Code. Here it states that if your loved one leaves a spouse behind, the spouse inherits the entirety of their estate (if they do not also have any surviving descendants). If they do have descendants, then the surviving spouse and the descendants share the estate’s assets. That sharing is “per stories” (meaning each entitled heir should receive an equal share). The surviving spouse’s portion, however, should never be less than one-third of the estate’s total value. 

Distribution if there is no spouse 

If your loved one had no spouse, then their estate goes to their descendants (beginning with their children, then their grandchildren, and so forth). There are no surviving descendants, the order of distribution would their parents, their siblings (and their descendants), their grandparents, and then their aunts and uncles. If none of those parties are still living, then their estate would go to those relatives with the nearest degree of kinship. 

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