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Probate when no will is left behind

Going to court to administer an estate is pretty unavoidable when no will is left behind by the deceased. Probate may seem like an awful thing to go through, but it does not have to be that bad, especially if one has help. An experienced attorney can assist those in Georgia who need to navigate probate when there is no will in place.

Estate planning is something that most Americans tend to avoid. Sadly, many end up dying without a will or any other estate planning documents prepared. When this happens, a judge will get to make a lot of important decisions regarding the future of the estate. The first being the naming of an executor. This person is responsible for inventorying assets, paying debts and taxes, and then distributing anything left to beneficiaries.

Without a will naming beneficiaries, to whom will an estate be distributed? There are a number of ways that something like this can go. It all depends on the life of the deceased. For example:

  • If one remains single and has no children, his or her estate will likely pass to any siblings or surviving parents.
  • If one is single with children, the children will get it all in equal shares.
  • If one is married with no children, assets will go to a surviving spouse, or they will be split between one's spouse, parents and siblings.
  • If an individual is married with children, assets will go to the surviving spouse or will be split between the spouse and children.

At the end of the day, a probate judge will get to decide who the heirs of an estate are and how assets will be split if there is no will. The executor will then have the responsibility of administering the estate in accordance with the court's ruling. It is possible for potential beneficiaries to petition the court for beneficiary status. It is also possible to file claims against an estate if there are concerns with how it is being handled. An experienced attorney can assist Georgia residents with such matters.

Source: FindLaw, "What Happens If You Die Without a Will?", Accessed on Oct. 18, 2017

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