Georgia Wills and Estates

What Property Does a Will Control?

A testator’s probate estate consists of all of the property owned by that person upon his or her death that is not otherwise controlled by contract or operation of law. These assets typically include cars, personal property, real estate held individually and as tenants in common and bank accounts solely in the individual’s name. 
There are several types of property that pass regardless of a Will and these include life insurance policies, retirements accounts with beneficiary designations, property owned as joint tenants with right of survivorship, brokerage accounts with payable on death designations and life estate interests.

Are There Restrictions on the Way that You Can Dispose of Property?

Yes. Although you can make many choices regarding who can have you property upon your death, all gifts and any provisions make in your Will must be inconsistent with the laws of the State of Georgia. You may decide to disinherit persons in your Will. A disinherited spouse or child may seek to contest a Will on grounds of competency or undue influence or petition the court a limited distribution regardless of what they were left in the Will.

What Happens to your Estate if you do not have a Will?

According to Georgia law, the following people inherit your property if you die without a Will (this process is known as intestate succession):
  • Your spouse inherits your entire estate if you die leaving behind a spouse and no children;
  • If you leave a spouse and children behind at the time of your death, each inherits an equal share however, the spouse’s share cannot be less than 1/3 of the estate;
  • Your children will inherit in equal shares if you leave no surviving spouse at the time of your death. If one of your children dies prior to your death but has living children, then those children will inherit your deceased child’s share (this is known as “per stirpes” distribution); and
  • Your parents will inherit your estate if you leave behind no surviving spouse and no children at the time of your death.

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Law Office of
Wendy A. Owens, P.C.
5710 Ogeechee Road #200
Suite 288
Savannah, Georgia 31405
912-927-0705 (Fax)