Georgia Intestate Law

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Welcome to our comprehensive guide on Georgia intestate law. Losing a loved one is never easy, and navigating the legal process can be overwhelming. This guide aims to provide you with a detailed understanding of Georgia’s intestacy laws, so you can be better prepared during these difficult times. In this article, we’ll cover the strengths and weaknesses of Georgia intestate law, answer some frequently asked questions, and provide practical advice for those dealing with this process.


What is Intestate Law?

When someone dies without leaving a valid will, their assets are distributed according to state law. This is known as intestate succession. In Georgia, the laws of intestacy are governed by the Georgia Probate Code, which outlines how an individual’s estate will be handled in the absence of a will.

Why is Understanding Georgia Intestate Law Important?

If your loved one passed away without leaving a will, it’s important to understand how their assets will be distributed. Georgia’s intestacy laws provide a default plan for asset distribution that may vary widely from what the deceased would have wanted. By understanding these laws, you can better prepare for the legal process and make informed decisions during an emotionally challenging time.

Who is Affected by Georgia Intestate Law?

Georgia intestacy laws apply if the deceased was a resident of Georgia at the time of their death and did not leave a valid will. The law outlines specific procedures for handling a deceased individual’s estate, which will depend on their relationship to surviving family members.

How is Property Distributed Under Georgia Intestate Law?

The distribution of an individual’s property varies depending on their specific familial relationships. Under Georgia law, assets are distributed in the following order:

Spouse Survives Spouse does not Survive
Children only Equally Equally Equally
Spouse and children Spouse gets 1/3 + $50k, children share the rest equally Children get everything equally Children get everything equally
Parents Equally Equally Equally
Grandparents/their descendants Equally Equally Equally
Siblings/their descendants Equally Equally Equally
Next of kin (not a child, parent, grandparent, or sibling) Equally Equally Equally

Strengths and Weaknesses of Georgia Intestate Law


1. Clear Distribution Plan: The Georgia Probate Code provides a clear plan for distributing assets if a person passes away without a valid will. This makes the legal process easier to navigate for surviving family members.

2. Equal Treatment for Families: Georgia intestacy laws provide for equal treatment of children regardless of their birth order or their parents’ marital status. This can prevent potential conflicts between family members.

3. Protects Spouses: If a person passes away without leaving a will, their surviving spouse is still entitled to a portion of their property under Georgia intestacy laws. This ensures that spouses are not left without any assets after the death of their partner.

4. Can be Amended: While intestacy laws provide a default plan, it’s still possible for surviving family members to alter the distribution of assets with the help of an experienced estate planning attorney.


1. May Not Reflect the Deceased’s Wishes: Intestacy laws are designed to provide a default plan of action, but this plan may not reflect the deceased’s wishes. For example, if a person wanted to leave their assets to a close friend or a charitable organization, this would not be possible under Georgia intestacy laws.

2. Can be Complicated: While Georgia intestacy laws provide a clear plan of action, the legal process can still be complicated for surviving family members. It’s important to seek the help of an experienced estate planning attorney to ensure that all procedures are followed correctly.

3. Excludes Unrelated Individuals: Unlike a will, Georgia intestacy laws only provide for the distribution of assets to surviving relatives. This means that close friends or others who may have been important to the deceased may not receive any of their assets.

4. Time-Consuming: The legal process of distributing assets under Georgia intestacy laws can be time-consuming and may last for several months or even years. This can be difficult for those already grieving the loss of a loved one.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. What is an Intestate Estate?

An intestate estate is an estate where the deceased individual did not leave a valid will. When a person dies without a will, the assets in their estate are distributed according to Georgia intestacy laws.

2. What Happens to Property if a Person Dies Without a Will and Has No Surviving Family Members?

If a person dies without a will and has no surviving family members, their property will escheat to the state of Georgia.

3. Can Intestate Succession be Avoided?

Yes, by creating a valid will or other estate planning documents, a person can avoid intestate succession and ensure that their assets are distributed according to their wishes.

4. What is Probate and Will it be Required for an Intestate Estate?

Probate is the legal process of distributing a person’s assets after they pass away. It will be required for an intestate estate, as this process ensures that the deceased’s assets are distributed according to state law.

5. What if Family Members Do Not Agree on the Distribution of Assets?

If family members do not agree on the distribution of assets, they may need to seek the help of an experienced estate planning attorney or mediator to resolve any conflicts.

6. Can a Spouse be Disinherited Under Georgia Intestate Law?

No, under Georgia intestacy laws, a surviving spouse cannot be disinherited.

7. What Happens to Minor Children if Both Parents Die Without a Will?

If both parents die without a will, the court will appoint a guardian to make decisions on behalf of the minor children.

8. Are Stepchildren Entitled to Receive Assets Under Georgia Intestate Law?

Stepchildren are not entitled to receive assets under Georgia intestacy laws unless they have been legally adopted by the deceased individual.

9. What if a Person Owns Property in Another State?

If a person owns property in another state, the intestacy laws of that state will apply to the distribution of those assets.

10. Can Life Insurance Proceeds be Paid to a Deceased’s Estate?

Life insurance proceeds are generally not considered part of the deceased’s estate and are therefore not subject to intestacy laws.

11. Can a Person Disinherit a Child Under Georgia Intestate Law?

No, under Georgia intestacy laws, a parent cannot disinherit a child. However, if a child is intentionally left out of a will, they may be entitled to contest the validity of the will.

12. Can Grandchildren or Great-Grandchildren Inherit from Their Grandparents?

Yes, if an individual’s surviving children have predeceased them, their grandchildren or great-grandchildren may receive a portion of their estate under Georgia intestacy laws.

13. What Happens if Someone Challenges the Distribution of Assets?

If someone challenges the distribution of assets under Georgia intestacy laws, it may be necessary to seek the help of an experienced estate planning attorney to defend against any claims.


Take Action Today

If you are dealing with an intestate estate in Georgia, it’s important to seek the help of an experienced estate planning attorney who can guide you through the legal process. By understanding Georgia intestacy laws, you can be better prepared to navigate the challenges that come with distributing a loved one’s assets after their passing.


The information contained in this article is provided for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice on any subject matter. No reader should act or refrain from acting based solely on the content herein without consulting an attorney who is licensed in the applicable jurisdiction. The author makes no guarantees as to the accuracy or completeness of the information contained herein. Any opinions expressed are those of the author alone.


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