By writing a will, you are ensuring that your loved ones receive the portion of your Georgia estate that you want each of them to have. However, the estate still has to go through probate, whether or not you have a will. At Boling Rice LLC, we often provide information and advice about the probate process to people who are creating their estate plans, as well as to administrators and executors guiding an estate through the probate process.
You appoint an executor in your will to be responsible for managing your assets after you die until the point when he or she can distribute them to your beneficiaries. If you do not name someone, the court will appoint an administrator to take care of the process. This person needs to be able to take care of a number of duties, or seek assistance in carrying them out:
- Validating the will with the probate court
- Inventorying the assets and liabilities of the estate
- Paying debts and taxes
- Managing the estate during the probate process
- Distributing assets to beneficiaries according to the will’s instructions
If you do not have a will, then the administrator distributes the assets according to Georgia’s intestate succession laws.
FindLaw notes that if you have a surviving spouse but no children or grandchildren, your spouse is your sole heir. If you do have children, the law divides your assets between your spouse and your children, and if you do not have a surviving spouse, then your children receive your assets. Children share your assets equally among themselves if you have no spouse, and if you have no children, then the law turns to your parents, siblings, nieces and nephews, and finally, aunts and uncles.
More information about wills and probate administration is available on our webpage.