Intestacy Laws in Georgia

The main purpose of having a Will is to ensure that your property moves to your nominated heirs after your death. From a legal perspective, a Will informs a Probate court as to your desires and functions as a way to override the state’s Intestacy statute.

Intestacy describes a situation where a person dies without a valid Will. By default, the court will follow the statutory rules that determine the property rights of surviving family members. This can often result in a distribution that goes against the decedent’s wishes and may create conflict within a family. Our trusted attorneys at Nelson Elder Care Law are well-versed in Intestacy laws in Georgia and can help you put together an Estate Plan that avoids these issues.

What Happens if Someone Dies without a Will?

Intestacy laws apply if a person dies without any form of Will or other testamentary document. In these situations, the Probate court will immediately apply Georgia’s Intestacy laws.

According to the Official Code of Georgia Annotated § 53-2-1, the court will evaluate the decedent’s current familial relations to determine who will inherit property. For example, a person who dies with a spouse, but no children, their entire Estate will be left to the spouse. By contrast, if a person dies with both a spouse and children, the spouse and children each split an even share of the Estate. However, the spouse will always retain a one-third share. The statute also contemplates situations where parents, siblings, grandparents, and other relations may be able to inherit if no children or spouses are alive. Our team at Nelson Elder Care Law can help determine who will inherit an Estate if your loved one died Intestate.

How a Will Overrides the Intestacy Laws

Having your Estate be subjected to Georgia Intestacy laws can severely complicate the Probate process. Because the law mandates even shares for children and spouses, this may necessitate the forced sale of tangible items such as real estate, personal property, or business holdings. As a result, a family home, precious heirlooms, or a family business may all cease to perform their original functions.

Thankfully, the most direct way to override the state’s Intestacy laws is to have a valid and comprehensive Will that specifically nominates heirs, names assets with as much detail as possible, and meets the state’s rules for formation and execution. If a Probate court accepts this Will as genuine, it will not need to apply the Intestacy laws. Our experienced lawyers can help you draft a legally valid Will that leaves no question as to your intent.

Learn More about Intestacy Laws from a Georgia Attorney

The state’s Intestacy laws serve a vital function. They determine which relatives will receive a portion of a decedent’s property after their death should they pass away without a Will. However, the presence of a valid Will upon the date of your death overrides some or all of these rules. As a result, a person with a comprehensive Estate Plan usually does not need to concern themselves with these rules.

Even so, understanding which parties will stand to inherit under Intestacy laws in Georgia is important information to have. Contact Nelson Elder Care Law today to learn more.

Hear From Our Clients

“On the threshold of retirement, we finally decided to quit thinking we could self-prepare the requisite documents. We had previously had only a very simple will. We needed the necessary legal (including updated will) & health care docs but didn’t want to deal with the time & complication of legalese. Cindy made the process relatively painless. She took the time to explain and answer questions without trying to upsell services. We were done in 2 meetings plus the reading of emailed drafts. In addition to preparing the documents, Nelson Eldercare will be there when our adult children need advice on executing the plans we’ve put in place.So glad it’s behind us and would recommend Cindy and her helpful staff.”

- Bonnie

Cindy and her company treat their clients like family. Nelson’s offers clear, direct, and honest guidance in planning for your families security and future. No one wants to actively sit down and make these decisions, but Nelson’s makes this process seamless. I was so impressed with their willingness to answer all questions big or small. So glad I made the decision have them help my mom and dad and now me. You can’t go wrong with Nelson’s Elder Care Law.

- Hope

The very best elder law attorney and staff anyone could ever ask for! I have referred a number of clients to Cindy and she never disappoints. She is kind, caring, and extremely thorough in making sure everything is completed as it should be. I highly recommend Cindy for anyone needing lawyer services; she truly goes above and beyond for every client she helps and has had a huge impact in so many peoples’ lives. Thank you, Cindy and staff, for everything that you do- I’m so glad to know you!

- Kerri

I heard Cindy’s presentation at a Senior Luncheon at my church, and was very impressed. She helped my daughter and me understand many aspects of elder law. Josh has also been very helpful in my planning to enter an independent living situation . I have told many friends about them.

- Charlotte

Cindy and the Nelson Elder Care Law team are trustworthy and helpful. They are the experts in elder care law. At Leaf Cremation, we entrust our families to the care of the Nelson team when their services are needed.

- Pierce