Does A Spouse Automatically Inherit Everything In Georgia?

Does A Spouse Automatically Inherit Everything In Georgia - Does Surviving Spouse Inherit Everything

Does a spouse automatically inherit everything in Georgia?

In this article, you’ll learn about: 

  • when a spouse gets everything and when they don’t
  • how intestate succession works in Georgia
  • how to set up an estate plan so your spouse gets everything
  • surviving spouse rights

Keep scrolling to learn more.

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Does A Spouse Automatically Inherit Everything In Georgia

Spouses automatically inherit everything in Georgia if there are no kids. 

If there are kids involved, the spouse automatically gets ⅓ of the estate in Georgia. 

The distribution of assets depends on:

  • whether there is a valid will in place
  • Georgia’s intestate succession laws 

If there’s no will, Georgia’s intestate succession determines how assets are distributed.

This may include the surviving spouse, but it doesn’t mean they get everything. 

If you want your spouse to inherit everything, you’ll need a will. 

(Fill out the form on this page to start your will today.)

Intestate Succession Order In Georgia

When there is not a will, the spouse normally doesn’t inherit everything in Georgia. 

Here is how the state will split up your estate based on intestate succession laws. 

  • Surviving Spouse & No Kids: The spouse inherits everything.
  • Surviving Spouse, Kids, or Descendants: Spouse gets one-third; the rest goes to kids or their descendants.
  • No Surviving Spouse, but Kids: Kids inherit everything equally.
  • No Surviving Spouse or Kids, but Parents: Parents inherit equally if both are alive.
  • No Surviving Spouse, Kids, Parents, or Siblings: The estate goes to siblings or their descendants.
  • No Surviving Spouse, Kids, Parents, Siblings, or Siblings’ Descendants: Grandparents may inherit.
  • No Eligible Relatives Found: The estate may escheat to the state of Georgia.

How To Make Sure Your Spouse Gets Everything

To make sure your spouse gets everything when you pass away:

  • Create a Will: Make a legal will that says your spouse gets most or all of your stuff.
  • Name Your Spouse as Executor: Say in your will that your spouse will manage your things after you’re gone. 
  • Update Beneficiaries: Make sure your spouse is the main beneficiary on your accounts and insurance policies.
  • Jointly Own Property: Share ownership of assets with your spouse. This means your spouse automatically owns them when you’re gone.
  • Set Up a Trust: Create a trust and say your spouse gets the money or property from it. (This will give property directly to them, avoiding probate.)
  • Talk to Your Spouse: Tell your spouse about your plans and where to find important papers.
  • Get Legal Help: Consult an estate planning lawyer to make sure everything is legal.
  • Update Your Plan: Change your will and plan when things in your life change.
  • Think About Agreements: Consider a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement to be clear about what your spouse gets.
  • Keep Records: Keep records of your money, stuff, and plans, and tell your spouse where they are.

Following these steps can help ensure your spouse receives what you want them to when you pass away.

Surviving Spouse Rights In Georgia

While the surviving spouse does not inherit everything, they do have rights. 

The surviving spouse’s rights in Georgia are: 

  • Year’s Support: The spouse can claim property worth one year’s support for themselves and dependents.
  • Homestead Exemption: The surviving spouse can live in the family home without interference from the deceased spouse’s creditors.
  • Elective Share: They may choose one-third of the deceased spouse’s estate, even if the will says otherwise.

Here is how to exercise these rights: 

Year's Support

  • File a petition with the probate court within two years of the spouse’s death.
  • Provide evidence of financial need and dependency on the deceased spouse.
  • Request an appraisal of the estate’s assets to determine the year’s support amount.
  • Attend a court hearing to present their case.

Homestead Exemption

  • Notify creditors and the executor of their intent to claim the homestead exemption.
  • Continue residing in the family home.
  • Seek legal advice if creditors contest the exemption.

Elective Share

  • Consult with an attorney to understand the elective share rights.
  • File a petition with the probate court within a specific time frame (generally within six months of the spouse’s death).
  • Provide documentation to support the claim for the elective share.
  • Attend court proceedings if necessary.

Fill out the form on this page to talk to an attorney about your options.

FAQs About Spouses Inheriting Everything In Georgia

Here are related questions that our clients ask us. 

Is Spouse Automatically Executor Of Estate?

In Georgia, the spouse is not automatically the executor of the estate. 

To become the executor, the spouse must be named in the deceased person’s will or appointed by the court. 

It’s important to have a valid will to specify your choice of executor.

What To Do When A Spouse Dies Without A Will?

When a spouse dies without a will, follow these steps:

  • Obtain Death Certificate: Obtain a death certificate, usually from the county vital records office.
  • Funeral Arrangements: Make funeral and burial or cremation arrangements.
  • Gather Important Documents: Collect financial and legal documents, like bank statements, deeds, and insurance policies.
  • Contact an Attorney: Consult an attorney for guidance on the probate process.
  • Open an Estate: If necessary, open an estate through probate court to manage the deceased spouse’s assets.
  • Identify Heirs: Determine who inherits the assets under state law if there’s no will.
  • Manage Assets: Safeguard and manage the deceased spouse’s assets during the probate process.
  • Pay Debts and Taxes: Address any outstanding debts and pay necessary taxes from the estate.
  • Distribute Assets: Distribute the remaining assets to the legal heirs as determined by state law.
  • Update Legal Documents: Review and update your own legal documents, such as wills and beneficiaries.

Does A House Automatically Go To The Spouse After Death?

In Georgia, a house doesn’t automatically go to the spouse after death. 

It depends on how the property is owned.

If it’s jointly owned with rights of survivorship, the surviving spouse typically inherits the house.

If it’s solely owned, it may go through probate, and the spouse might inherit it according to the deceased’s will or Georgia’s intestate succession laws.

To ensure the spouse inherits the house, proper estate planning, like joint ownership or specifying in a will, is important.

Set Up Your Estate Plan To Give Everything To Your Spouse

If you want help from an estate planning 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 estate planning lawyers.

Benefits of our estate planning 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 estate planning 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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