Property Inheritances: What if I Don’t Have a Will?
No matter how old you are, it can be challenging to consider mortality, and the fact that we will be leaving everything behind one day with our heirs receiving property inheritances. You may feel difficulty in moving forward in creating a will because of that anxiety, or like so many of us you may just feel too constricted by a busy schedule to take time out to make an appointment; however, with the help of a skilled estate planning attorney, you should find the process seamless—and invaluable for the future of your family.
Without a will in Georgia, you are basically leaving all decision-making regarding your property to the state. The property becomes part of an intestate estate, with state law deciding who will inherit your property. Usually that includes any surviving spouse and children, with everyone sharing equally but with the spouse not to inherit less than one third. If there were no children in your immediate family or none are surviving, then the spouse will inherit the bulk of the estate; likewise, all your children will inherit if the spouse is no longer living.
The process becomes more complex if there is not a spouse or any children—and is trickier without a will. If one or more parents are still living, they would inherit all your property. After that, siblings, nieces or nephews, grandparents, aunts and uncles, or cousins are next in line for inheritance. Basically, the state goes directly down the line of descendants to find out who the property belongs to. If there is no family, the property will then go into probate with the state.
There may be other typical complications with such an estate later also, and issues that are not exclusive to those without wills. Tax or serious debt issues may be attached to the property—and they could be greater than the value of the estate. Without a will, you lose control not only of establishing what goes to which beneficiary, but you are not able to outline amounts or any age restrictions. There may be guardianships that should be in place, along with an executor to make sure that all beneficiaries are notified and that property is distributed properly.
Scriber Law Group is an Atlanta estate planning practice able to help you with everything from a simple will to more complex planning of your estate, along with business and financial planning, creating trusts, and managing them. We will work with you directly in the process, also helping you to avoid any tax complications or potential conflicts with family over what you have outlined in your will or trust. Call (404) 939-7562 or contact us online for a free consultation.