Heir Property Laws In Georgia: 5 Things You Can Do With Heir Property

Heir Property Laws In Georgia - Heir Property Rights - Heirs At Law Georgia

What are the heir property laws in Georgia? 

In this article, you’ll learn about: 

  • what heir property laws are
  • how the property gets distributed during probate
  • what to do with the heir property
  • your options on what to do with the heir property
  • how to split up the property
  • do all heirs have to agree to sell the heir property

Let’s dig in. 

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Heir Property Laws In Georgia

Georgia’s heir property laws are based on intestate succession statutes. 

These laws apply when someone dies without a valid will or estate plan. 

They outline the distribution of the deceased’s property among surviving heirs.

What Are The Heir Property Laws In Georgia?

Per the heir property laws in Georgia, an heir property gets distributed to:

  1. Spouse: The spouse inherits the entire estate if there are no children. With children, the spouse gets one-third of the estate, and the children share the remaining two-thirds equally.
  2. Children: If no spouse is alive, the children inherit the entire estate equally. If a child passed away before the deceased, their descendants (i.e., grandchildren) inherit the child’s share.
  3. Parents: If no spouse or child is alive, the parents inherit the estate. Both parents receive half if alive; otherwise, the living parent gets the entire estate.
  4. Siblings: If no spouse, child, or parent is alive, the siblings inherit the estate equally. If a sibling passed away before the deceased, their descendants inherit the sibling’s share.
  5. Distant Relatives: If no spouse, children, parents, or siblings are alive, more distant relatives inherit the estate based on Georgia’s inheritance laws, including grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins.
  6. Escheat To The State: If no heirs are found based on Georgia law, the property reverts to the state of Georgia.

Read More: Transfer Of Property After Death Without Will In Georgia

How The Heir Property Process Works In Georgia

When a person dies, their property usually enters probate in Georgia. 

This legal process settles the estate and distributes assets to heirs. 

The typical steps for heir property are:

  1. Start Probate: The executor files a petition with the court if there’s a will. If not, the court appoints an administrator.
  2. List Assets: The executor or administrator inventories the deceased’s assets, including heir property, and submits it to the court.
  3. Inform Creditors: Creditors are notified about the death and given a deadline to file claims for outstanding debts.
  4. Settle Debts And Taxes: The executor or administrator pays debts, taxes, and probate expenses using the estate’s assets.
  5. Identify Heirs: The court confirms heirs based on the will or state intestate succession laws if there’s no will.
  6. Distribute Property: After settling debts and taxes, the court authorizes asset distribution, including heir property, to the rightful heirs.

Read More: How Much Time After Selling A House Do You Have To Buy A House To Avoid The Tax Penalty?

What To Do With The Heir Property In Georgia

Once heir property is distributed, heirs must choose how to handle it. 

Some things that heirs can do with the inherited property are:

  • Retain Joint Ownership: Heirs can keep the property, sharing joint ownership and creating a co-ownership agreement to outline each heir’s rights and responsibilities.
  • Sell The Property: Heirs may decide to sell the property, dividing the proceeds based on each heir’s share.
  • Buy Out Other Heirs: One or more heirs can buy out the shares of others, as discussed earlier regarding siblings and a house.
  • Rent The Property: Heirs may choose to rent the property, sharing rental income based on each heir’s share.
  • Gift The Property: An heir can decide to gift their share to another heir or a third party.

Next, let’s talk about how to divide an estate between siblings. 

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

How To Divide An Estate Between Siblings

To divide an estate between siblings, follow these steps:

  1. Determine Each Sibling’s Share: Establish how to divide inherited land between siblings based on the deceased’s will or Georgia’s intestate succession laws.
  2. Get A Property Appraisal: Obtain a professional appraisal to determine the current market value of the inherited land. We can set this up for you. 
  3. Discuss Preferences: Communicate with your siblings to understand their preferences, whether they want to keep, sell, or buy out another sibling’s share of the land.
  4. Consider Equalization: If one sibling wants to keep the property, they may need to equalize the division by compensating the others with assets or cash of equivalent value.
  5. Create A Written Agreement: Document your decisions in a written agreement signed by all siblings, outlining the division and responsibilities.
  6. Transfer Ownership: File the necessary legal documents, like quit claim deeds or living trusts, to transfer ownership according to the agreed-upon division.
  7. Consult An Attorney: When inheriting land with siblings, it’s wise to involve an estate attorney to help navigate the process and ensure a smooth division.

Read More: How Much Does An Estate Have To Be Worth To Go To Probate?

Can You Buyout Siblings' Share Of House Fairly?

Yes, you can buy out your siblings’ share of a house fairly. 

To buyout a siblings’ share of a house fairly, you’ll need to:

  1. Get a professional appraisal to determine the market value of the property.
  2. Calculate each sibling’s share by dividing the property value by the number of siblings.
  3. Negotiate and agree on a fair buyout price for each sibling’s share.
  4. Draft and sign a legally binding agreement outlining the terms of the buyout.
  5. Transfer the ownership by updating the property deed and recording it with the appropriate government office.

Remember, open communication and negotiation are key to reaching a fair agreement among all parties involved.

Fill out the form on this page to split inherited property.

Read More: What Happens When Two Siblings Own A Property And One Dies?

Selling A Share Of Inherited Property To A Sibling

To sell your share of inherited property to a sibling, follow these steps:

  1. Determine the property’s value by obtaining a professional appraisal.
  2. Calculate the value of your share based on your ownership percentage.
  3. Negotiate a fair price with your sibling for your share of the property.
  4. Draft and sign a legally binding agreement outlining the terms of the sale.
  5. Update the property deed to reflect the new ownership structure and record it with the appropriate government office.

Do All Heirs Have To Agree To Sell Property In Georgia?

In Georgia, all heirs do not necessarily have to agree to sell property. 

However, if there is no unanimous agreement among heirs, one heir can petition the court for a partition sale. 

The court will then decide whether to order the sale of the property.

And they will distribute the proceeds among the heirs per to their ownership shares. 

To avoid potential disputes, it is best to:

  • work with the other heirs 
  • seek a mutually agreeable solution for the property

What Is A Partition Sale?

A partition sale is a legal method used to sell a jointly owned property when co-owners disagree on its management or sale. 

The court orders the sale and divides the proceeds based on each co-owner’s share.

This process usually starts when some co-owners, such as heirs, want to sell the property, while others don’t. 

A co-owner files a partition lawsuit, asking the court to sell the property and divide the money.

The court may try to split the property into separate parts, called “partition in kind,” giving each co-owner a portion. 

If dividing the property isn’t practical or reduces its value, the court orders a partition sale, or “partition by sale.”

After the court’s order, the property is sold, either at a public auction or private sale. 

The money is then split among co-owners based on their shares. 

Partition sales help resolve disputes and ensure each co-owner gets their portion of the property’s value.

FAQs About Heir Property Laws In Georgia

These are questions our clients ask us about heir property laws in Georgia. 

Can You Build A House On Heir Property?

You can build a house on heir property if all co-owners agree to the construction. 

However, it’s essential to get written consent from all co-owners before starting the project. 

Additionally, ensure compliance with local zoning, building codes, and permit requirements. 

Building on heir property without unanimous agreement can lead to disputes and legal issues among co-owners.

What Happens When One Sibling Is Living In An Inherited Property And Refuses To Sell?

When one sibling is living in an inherited property and refuses to sell, the other siblings have options to resolve the issue:

  1. Negotiation: The siblings can discuss and attempt to reach a mutual agreement on the property’s future, such as a buyout or rental arrangement.
  2. Mediation: If negotiations fail, siblings can seek mediation from a neutral third party to help find a compromise.
  3. Partition Lawsuit: If neither negotiation nor mediation resolves the issue, a sibling can file a partition lawsuit, requesting the court to order a partition sale. The court will then decide whether to order the sale, after which the property is sold and the proceeds are divided among the siblings based on their ownership shares.

What Happens To A Mortgage When Someone Dies?

When someone dies with a mortgage, the mortgage debt remains attached to the property. 

The responsibility for paying the mortgage generally passes to the person who inherits the property.

This would be a surviving spouse or an heir. 

Let’s say the deceased had mortgage protection insurance.

It may pay off the remaining mortgage balance, allowing the inheritor to own the property without a mortgage. 

If the mortgage is not paid off, the lender has the right to foreclose on the property. 

In some cases, the inheritor may choose to:

  • refinance the mortgage
  • sell the property to pay off the mortgage
  • negotiate with the lender to assume the existing mortgage

Read More: Inheriting A House That Is Paid Off

Get Help With Heir Property Laws In Georgia

If you want to secure your legacy with our exclusive estate planning services, fill out the form below. 

At The Hive Law, we understand the importance of:

  • protecting your heir property rights 
  • ensuring your family’s future
  • dividing and selling heir property
  • setting up joint ownership agreements for heir property

We only accommodate a limited number of clients each month.

So don’t miss your opportunity to work with our esteemed estate planning attorneys.

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:

  • 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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