The Hive Law - Estate Planning - Wills - Trusts

3 Secrets To Avoiding Probate Georgia

Avoiding Probate Georgia - Probating A Will In Georgia - Georgia Small Estate Limit - Georgia Probate Time Limit

Avoiding probate in Georgia is easy. 

You just need to set up your estate properly. 

This article will teach you how to avoid probate in Georgia. 

Let’s dig in.

Table of Contents

When the courts appoint an administrator to an estate, they can choose anyone. This includes creditors or third-party companies. Meaning you and your family lose all control over the estate.

If you want to avoid probate in Georgia, fill out the form below for a free consultation. 

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An Overview Of Avoiding Probate In Georgia

This section is a brief overview of avoiding probate in Georgia. 

It meanly covers probate topics like:

  • What Does It Mean To Probate A Will In Georgia?
  • The Georgia Probate Time Limit
  • How Long Do You Have To Probate A Will In Georgia?
  • The Georgia Small Estate Limit

If you understand all of this already, you can skip ahead to the next section. 

Where we talk about the 3 tips for avoiding probate in Georgia.

What Does It Mean To Probate A Will In Georgia?

What does probating a will in Georgia mean? 

Probate is the legal process that determines if a will is valid and authentic. 

Probating a will in Georgia also means administering a deceased person’s will

The courts will appoint either an executor or administrator for the estate. 

This person will pay off debts that the decedent owed from the estate. 

After that, they will distribute the remaining estate to the heirs. 

Related: What If The Executor Does Not Probate The Will

Georgia Probate Time Limit

The Georgia probate time limit is 5 years. 

A will in Georgia will expire exactly 5 years after you open probate. 

Which makes your will invalid

And this means that the estate will default to intestacy laws

Once the will becomes invalid, you lose control over the estate. 

The estate will get split up per the intestacy laws if the Georgia probate time limit gets missed. 

How Long Do You Have To Probate A Will In Georgia?

Let’s talk about how long you have to probate a will in Georgia

You have 5 years to probate a Georgia will

But “5 years” does not start when the person dies

5 years begins counting down after you file for probate on an estate in Georgia

But you do have a time limit on when you have to probate a will. 

You have to file for probate within 18 months of someone passing away

Georgia Small Estate Limit

The Georgia small estate limit is $10,000

If you die with less than $10,000 in a bank account, your heirs can file a small estate affidavit

This allows them to avoid probate in Georgia. 

This $10,000 Georgia small estate limit only applies to your bank accounts.

3 Tips For Avoiding Probate Georgia

The three ways you can avoid probate in Georgia are:

  • place your assets in a living trust
  • name beneficiaries on your accounts
  • own assets jointly

Write a Living Trust

This is the most straightforward approach for avoiding probate in Georgia

A living trust is an alternative to a last will

A will simply distributes your assets when you pass away. 

But a living trust places your assets in a trust

Then, the assets are managed by the trustee for your beneficiaries. 

When you place assets in a trust, they are already distributed to the trust. 

So, placing assets in a living trust allows you to avoid probate in Georgia. 

Related: Disadvantages Of A Trust

Name Beneficiaries on Your Accounts

You are able to name beneficiaries on your:

  • individual retirement accounts (IRAs)
  • 401k plans
  • stocks and bonds
  • life insurance policies
  • bank accounts
  • pension benefits

Naming beneficiaries enables these accounts to avoid probate in Georgia. 

This is true even if these assets are not in a trust

They can even avoid probate in Georgia if you don’t have a will

To avoid probate in Georgia on these accounts, name a beneficiary

All you need to do is fill out the Payable On Death forms. 

You can call the company that holds your accounts and ask for the form

Then, submit it back to them. 

These forms ensure that monies are immediately dispersed at death

Allowing these accounts to be avoiding probate in Georgia. 

Related: Executor Not Communicating With Beneficiaries

Joint Ownership

Joint ownership allows real estate to avoid probate in Georgia. 

For example, you and your spouse may own your home jointly

This allows you to pass the property to your spouse automatically if you die. 

But it doesn’t have to be your spouse. 

You can own property jointly with anyone, including, but not limited to you:

  • friends
  • children
  • relatives
  • significant other
  • business partners

For avoiding probate in Georgia, you’ll need to designated ownership clearly

For married couples, you’ll want to consider creating a Tenancy by Entirety.

This form designates that each spouse has an equal and undivided interest in the property

(Fill out the form below to have us do this for you.)

What if you currently own property by yourself, but you want to add your spouse to the title?

You can use a Georgia quitclaim deed

This will “quit” your individual claim to the property. 

And will designate new ownership – you and your spouse

Related: What Happens If No Probate Is Filed

Questions About Avoiding Probate Georgia

These are questions we commonly get associated with avoiding probate in Georgia. 

  • How To File A Will In Georgia
  • Does A Will Have To Be Probated In Georgia?
  • What Happens If A Will Is Not Probated?
  • Does A Will Avoid Probate In Georgia?
  • How Much Does An Executor Get Paid?

How To File A Will In Georgia

There are 13 steps for how to file a will in Georgia

But the gist of how to file a will in Georgia is that you:

  • find the will
  • review will and contact witnesses
  • name the executor and contact beneficiaries
  • get the probate form filled out
  • file the probate form and the will
  • pay off debts and distribute the remaining estate

Does A Will Have To Be Probated In Georgia?

If you have one, does a will have to be probated in Georgia?

Per probate laws, a will has to be probated in Georgia. 

This is true even if probate is not necessary due to things like:

  • joint ownership of property
  • named beneficiaries for accounts
  • the estate being less than $10,000

The courts will want to validate the will

And they will need to approve any requests for avoiding probate in Georgia. 

So, yes, a will does have to be probated in Georgia, regardless of the estate. 

There are consequences of not probating a will

If you do not go through probate, the property remains in the descendant’s name. 

The beneficiaries cannot gain legal ownership of the property without probating a will.

Related: Power of Attorney Georgia

What Happens If A Will Is Not Probated?

What happens if a will is not probated in Georgia?

If a will is not probated, then:

  • legal title to assets can be clouded
  • there can be legal claims against the executor

Let’s talk about the legal title being clouded. 

You need to probate a will to transfer the title of the property out of the decedent’s name.  

If you don’t probate a will then the property remains in the decedent’s name

If it’s in their name, you won’t be able to:

  • sell the property
  • keep insurance on the property
  • maintain registration on the property

You have to probate the will to transfer the title into the beneficiaries’ names

Next, let’s talk about legal claims against the executor

When the will is probated, property gets distributed to the beneficiaries and creditors. 

If the will is not probated, they will not receive property that is legally theirs

This gives them the right to file a civil lawsuit against the executor. 

And the executor will be personally liable to repay them

That’s because it’s the executor’s responsibility to probate the will. 

Related: What An Executor Cannot Do

Does A Will Avoid Probate In Georgia?

A will does not avoid probate in Georgia. 

The estate needs to go through probate to avoid issues like:

  • the person who doesn’t file the will can be personally liable
  • legal titles get clouded and the property cannot get sold
  • heirs can have legal claims against you
  • creditors can come after you for their losses

Probating a will in Georgia settles the estate

The executor will:

  • pay off debts owed to creditors
  • transfer the title of property into the beneficiaries names
  • close the estate

The estate has to be closed. 

This is why a will cannot avoid probate in Georgia. 

How Much Does An Executor Get Paid?

According to Georgia estate laws, the executor gets paid:

  • 2.5% of all money brought into an estate
  • 2.5% of all money paid or distributed out of an estate

The executor gets paid based on a percentage of the estate. 

Related: Penalty For Stealing From An Estate

Avoiding Probate In Georgia

If you want to set up your estate to avoid probate in Georgia, fill out the form below

We also make sure that every asset can avoid probate.

But allow you to maintain control over your estate while you’re alive.

This means your heirs don’t get raked over the coals financially with probate.

After you fill out the form below, we will set up your free consultation.

Talk soon.

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