What you need to know about Georgia’s laws and probate procedures.
The probate process varies from state-to-state, so not every probate reference available online will necessarily apply to Georgia. At Georgia Probate Resource, we try to share the most relevant probate information specific to the State of Georgia. Prevent added stress through these specific resources meant to guide you through what to expect and what to do when contending with wills, no wills, taxes, and more.
First-Time Executors in Georgia
For first-time estate executors, information on how to begin the basic probate process can be found here.
An estate executor has 60 days to put out a notice for any heirs to come forward in the event family members cannot be located or contacted. After that, the properties and assets default to the State of Georgia and given to the Board of Education located in the county where probate proceedings were filed.
Intestate in Georgia
If your loved one passed without a will, you may have to contend with some extra paperwork and time, but the state has clear guidelines available. In Georgia, the line of inheritance for individuals who do not leave a will behind is as follows:
- Surviving spouse of the deceased, without children
- Surviving spouse of the deceased, with children (this includes adopted children and children born within 10 months of the deceased’s passing)
- Children of the deceased
- Grandchildren and great-grandchildren of the deceased
- Parents of the deceased
- Siblings and half-siblings of the deceased
- Nieces and nephews of the deceased
- Grandparents of the deceased
- Aunts and uncles of the deceased
- Cousins of the deceased
In addition, only the following assets are subjected to the probate process without a will:
- All assets with the deceased’s name listed as the sole owner
- Property shares owned as “tenants in common”
In Georgia, the probate process without a will does not include the following:
- 401(k) accounts
- Life insurance
- Household items
- Properties placed in a living trust
- Bank accounts
- Jointly-owned property
More information on working through Georgia’s probate system without a will is detailed here.
Can I Skip the Probate Process in Georgia?
It’s also possible that you may be able to skip probate in Georgia entirely, in the following situations:
- If a living trust was established prior to the deceased’s passing
- Joint ownership of assets
- Beneficiaries were named in the deceased’s bank accounts and insurance policies
- A transfer-on-death registration was established for stocks and bonds
Further details on bypassing Georgia’s probate system is available here.
Whether you’re new to the probate process, or an experienced veteran, you may want to bookmark the following links as an easy reference for almost everything you’ll need to know:
- Council of Probate Court Judges of Georgia: Stay up-to-date on which judges preside over your county, as well as information on how to find an attorney.
- Georgia Probate Court Standard Forms and General Instructions: The Supreme Court of Georgia provides all of the standard forms and guidelines you may need while taking care of probate tasks.
- Estate Tax – FAQ: Provided by the Georgia Department of Revenue, this resource covers the latest details on how the state handles estate taxes.
- § 53-2-1 – Rules of inheritance when decedent dies without will; effect of abandonment of child: For the curious, here is the actual wording of the Georgia state laws regarding the rules of inheritance should a resident pass without a will.
We’re Answering Your Questions
Georgia Probate Resource exists specifically to address any questions you may have about the probate process in the state. Losing a loved one is already difficult. You don’t need to add the stress and strain of trying to piece together the legal details on top of your grief. We hope this website will provide you with the information you need for the closure you deserve.