Does A Surviving Spouse Need Probate In Georgia?

Does A Surviving Spouse Need Probate In Georgia

Does a surviving spouse need probate in Georgia? 

In this article, you’ll learn about:

  • when a spouse does need probate
  • when they don’t
  • the assets that do or don’t have to go through probate
  • how to set up your estate to avoid probate completely

Keep scrolling to learn more.

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Does A Surviving Spouse Need Probate In Georgia?

Yes, a surviving spouse needs probate if property is held only in one spouse’s name. 

But, no, they do not need probate if the property: 

  • is jointly owned with the right of survivorship
  • has designated beneficiaries

Consulting with an attorney can provide specific guidance based on the individual situation.

When A Surviving Spouse Needs Probate

A spouse needs probate in Georgia when the deceased spouse had assets solely in their name.

This includes assets like:

  • Real estate solely owned by the deceased spouse.
  • Bank accounts or investments solely in the deceased spouse’s name.

Probate is necessary to transfer ownership of these assets.

This is true whether it’s to the surviving spouse or other heirs.

When A Surviving Spouse Does Not Need Probate

A surviving spouse would not need probate in Georgia if:

  • All assets are jointly owned with the right of survivorship. Meaning they automatically pass to the surviving spouse when the other spouse passes.
  • Assets have designated beneficiaries. Think life insurance policies, retirement accounts, or payable-on-death (POD) bank accounts. This makes sure they go directly to the named beneficiary.

For these, probate is not required to transfer these assets to the surviving spouse.

How To Make Sure Your Surviving Spouse Does Not Need Probate In Georgia

You can set up your estate plan to have your estate: 

  • skip the probate process completely
  • go directly to your spouse when you pass

Here is how to make sure your spouse doesn’t need probate. 

  1. Joint Ownership: Set up your real estate and bank accounts to be jointly owned with your spouse. Do this by completing the necessary forms at your bank or with the property registrar. Ensure it’s specified as “joint tenancy with right of survivorship.”
  2. Beneficiary Designations: Update beneficiary designations on life insurance policies and retirement accounts. Make sure your spouse is the primary beneficiary.
  3. Living Trust: Consult an estate planning attorney to create a revocable living trust. Transfer assets into the trust by re-titling them in the trust’s name. This ensures that your spouse can access them without probate.
  4. POD/TOD Accounts: This is for Payable-on-Death (POD) or Transfer-on-Death (TOD) accounts. Fill out the proper forms from your financial institutions. Designate your spouse as the beneficiary.
  5. Gifting: Gift assets to your spouse during your lifetime. Do this by completing the necessary gift transfer forms or deeds. Be mindful of gift tax limits to avoid tax implications.
  6. Legal Counsel: Fill out the form to chat with an estate planning attorney in Georgia. We can guide you through these steps and help you create the necessary legal documents. This will ensure your estate plan aligns with state laws.

Set Up Your Assets To Pass Directly 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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