Do Wills Have To Be Probated In Georgia?

Do Wills Have To Be Probated In Georgia - How Long Do You Have To File Probate After Death In Georgia - Georgia Probate Laws - What Has To Go Through Probate In Georgia

Do wills have to be probated in Georgia?

In this article, you’ll learn about: 

  • if wills have to get probated
  • how long you have to file for probate
  • Georgia’s probate laws
  • what has to go through probate
  • how to transfer property 

Keep scrolling to learn more.

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Do Wills Have To Be Probated In Georgia

Yes, wills have to get probated in Georgia

Probating the will is how the courts know how you want to distribute the estate.

Let’s say a person dies with a will.

Their estate gets settled according to the will’s instructions. 

Here is what probating a will in Georgia looks like:

  • Filing the Will: The executor named in the will files it in the probate court.
  • Validating the Will: The court validates the will and confirms the executor’s role.
  • Notifying Heirs and Creditors: Heirs and creditors get notified of the probate.
  • Paying Debts and Taxes: The estate pays any debts and taxes owed.
  • Distributing Assets: Remaining assets get distributed as the will directs.

Read More: What Happens If A Will Is Not Probated

How Long Do You Have To File Probate After Death In Georgia?

You have 30-60 days to file for probate in Georgia.

You have to file the petition for probate as soon as possible after they pass.

You will need the petition for probate and the death certificate.

You can file the will at this point or wait until a later date.

You have 5 years to file the will with the court. 

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

What Are The Georgia Probate Laws?

Georgia probate laws cover several key areas:

  • Will Validation: Probate courts in Georgia determine the validity of a will. If valid, the will dictates how the estate gets distributed.
  • Intestate Succession: Let’s say there’s no will. Georgia’s intestate succession laws determine how assets get distributed.
  • Executor and Administrator: Probate appoints someone to manage the estate.
  • Asset Distribution: The executor or administrator manages the deceased’s assets. They will pay debts and taxes and distribute the remaining assets to the beneficiaries.
  • Probate Avoidance: Certain assets can skip probate in Georgia. This includes a living trust or with designated beneficiaries (i.e., life insurance).
  • Small Estates: Georgia law provides a simplified process for small estates. This allows for a more expedited probate process.
  • Guardianship and Conservatorship: The probate court also handles matters of guardianship and conservatorship for minors and incapacitated adults.
  • Deadlines and Notices: There are specific deadlines for filing probate. And there are requirements for notifying creditors and heirs.

These laws ensure:

  • a fair and orderly distribution of assets
  • handling of the deceased’s affairs

What Has To Go Through Probate In Georgia?

In Georgia, the following items need to go through probate:

  • Real Estate: Property only in the name of the deceased person.
  • Personal Property: Things like cars, furniture, and jewelry owned solely by the deceased.
  • Bank Accounts: Accounts without a designated beneficiary or joint account holder.
  • Investments and Stocks: These need probate if solely in the deceased’s name.
  • Life Insurance or Retirement Accounts: There is no named beneficiary or the beneficiary is deceased.
  • Debts and Taxes Owed: Probate is necessary to settle any outstanding debts and taxes.
  • Business Interests: Sole proprietorships or shares in businesses owned by the deceased.

You can avoid probate with jointly owned property with rights of survivorship.

These are things like:

  • accounts with a named beneficiary (i.e., payable-on-death accounts)
  • assets held in a trust

How Much Does An Estate Have To Be Worth To Go To Probate In Georgia?

In Georgia, an estate must go through probate if it’s worth more than $10,000. 

Estates valued at $10,000 or less may qualify for a simplified probate process. 

This threshold includes the total value of the deceased’s assets that need probate.

How To Transfer Of Property After Death Without Will In Georgia

Transferring property after death without a will in Georgia involves these steps:

  1. File a Petition for Administration: You do this at the probate court in the county where the person lived. It starts the process of estate administration without a will.
  2. Appointment of an Administrator: The court appoints an administrator to manage the estate. This is usually a close relative.
  3. Inventory of Estate: The administrator lists all assets of the deceased. This includes property, bank accounts, and personal items.
  4. Paying Debts and Taxes: The administrator pays debts and taxes owed by the deceased. They use the estate’s assets to pay for this.
  5. Distribution of Remaining Assets: After debts and taxes, the remaining assets get distributed. Georgia’s laws of intestacy determine how to distribute the remaining assets.
  6. Closing the Estate: Now all debts have gotten paid and assets distributed. The administrator then files a final accounting with the court to close the estate.

Read More: What To Do With Personal Belongings After Death Without A Will

FAQs About Wills Getting Probated In Georgia

Here are other questions our estate planning clients ask us. 

What Assets Are Exempt From Probate In Georgia?

In Georgia, certain assets are exempt from probate:

  • Jointly Owned Property: Property owned with another person with a right of survivorship. These automatically pass to the surviving owner.
  • Payable-on-Death Accounts: These accounts transfer directly to a named beneficiary. They do not go through probate.
  • Retirement Accounts with Beneficiaries: Accounts like IRAs and 401(k)s bypass probate. But only if there is a designated beneficiary.
  • Life Insurance Policies: The proceeds go directly to the named beneficiary, avoiding probate.
  • Assets in a Living Trust: Property held in a trust transfers to heirs without probate.
  • Small Estates: Georgia lets small estates skip probate or use a simplified process.

How Long Does An Executor Have To Settle An Estate In Georgia?

In Georgia, an executor has no strict deadline to settle an estate. 

But, they should do so in a “reasonable time frame.” 

This often takes about a year. 

The process includes paying debts, distributing assets, and completing tax filings. 

Complex estates might take longer. 

Executors should act diligently and in the estate’s best interest.

Get Help Probating A Will

If you want help from a probate lawyer, fill out the form below. 

At The Hive Law, we understand the importance of:

  • protecting your hard-earned assets 
  • ensuring your family’s future
  • not losing everything to creditors and lawsuits
  • properly (and legally) distributing assets 

We only accommodate a limited number of clients each month.

So don’t miss your opportunity to work with our probate lawyers.

Benefits of our probate services:

  • Tailored solutions to fit your unique needs and goals
  • Expert guidance in navigating complex tax and legal matters
  • Preservation of your wealth for future generations
  • Streamlined asset distribution according to your wishes

Avoid the pitfalls of inadequate probate strategies:

  • Creditors seizing your assets
  • Lawsuits jeopardizing your family’s financial security
  • Family disputes over inheritance
  • Costly and time-consuming probate processes

Talk soon.

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