Monday, October 3, 2022

What happens if you die without a will in Georgia?

If a person dies without a will, they are said to have died “intestate”.  When that happens, the person’s assets will be passed to the heirs based on the rules that Georgia’s intestate succession rules. 

The probate process for a person who is intestate is called an administration and the person named to take care of your estate after your death is called an administrator.  The administrator will file a petition in the probate court, and once appointed and sworn in by the judge, the administrator will first pay the debts of the estate and then make distributions to the living heirs of the deceased person.

  • If you have a spouse but no children, the spouse will get the entire estate; 
  • If you have children, but no spouse, your children will divide the estate equally.  This includes both biological and adopted children.  If you have a spouse and one child, they will divide the estate equally;
  • If you have a spouse and more than one child, your spouse will get 1/3 and the children will divide the 2/3 equally;
  • If any child is deceased, his or her share will go to your grandchildren;
  • If you have no spouse or children;
  • Your estate will go to your living parents;
  • If you have no living parents, the estate goes to your siblings;

If you don’t have spouse, children, parents, or siblings, then the estate goes in the following order:

  • Grandparents;
  • If no grandparents, the split among aunts and uncles.  If you have aunts or uncles that are deceased, their children will split their share;
  • If you have no aunts or uncles, then your first cousins split the estate

If you have none of the above, then distant cousins will inherit based on OCGA sec. 53-2-1(b)(8).

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