What happens if someone dies without a will in Georgia?
When a person dies without a will, they are said to have died “intestate.” That person’s assets will be passed down to their heirs through what are called “intestate succession” rules.
If there are assets, the estate may need to go through the probate process. During probate, the probate court will appoint an administrator. The administrator’s job is to make sure the deceased’s assets get distributed. If they want the job, a surviving spouse or sole heir will be appointed as the administrator. Otherwise, the majority of the heirs can choose the administrator with court approval.
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What are the rules of inheritance?
In Georgia, if you die without a will, any assets leftover after your debts are paid off will go to your living relatives. If you have no living relatives, then any assets will go to the state.
The law sets out which relatives will inherit your estate.
If you have a spouse and/or kids, your whole estate goes to them. If you had a child who died before you, their share will be split among their children. If you die with:
A spouse but no children, your spouse will inherit your entire estate.
Children but no spouse, your children will split everything equally. This includes biological and adopted children. Both a spouse and one child, they will divide the estate equally.
A spouse and more than one child, your spouse will get ⅓ and the children will split the rest of the estate equally.
If you do not have a spouse or children, then:
If you have living parents, your estate goes to them.
If you do not have living parents, your estate goes to your siblings.
If you do not have a spouse, children, parents or siblings then, your estate is inherited in this order:
If no grandparents, then split between aunts and uncles. If you have any deceased aunts and uncles, their children will inherit their share equally.
If no aunts and uncles, then first cousins will split your estate.
If you have none of the above, then a distant relative will inherit. Who gets it will be determined by a complicated formula found in OCGA sec. 53-2-1(b)(8).
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