The dangers of relying on probate to divide your estate

On Behalf of | Dec 10, 2020 | Estate Planning & Probate

You probably already know that Georgia has laws that cover people dying without a last will. In fact, you might even know a little bit about those laws. If you intend to leave most of your property to your spouse or children, you might feel like a last will isn’t necessary because of how the law says your property should pass on to others.

Intestate succession laws help ensure that your family members and dependents can still receive your property from your estate even if you don’t have any formal last will. However, it is usually better to take control of your legacy by creating an estate plan rather than to leave it up to the state.

Intestate succession can become complicated quickly

The probate courts have to apply state law to estates without a last will on record. Often, this means that surviving spouses or surviving children receive almost everything from the estate. In blended families, the state tries to balance the rights of the current spouse with the rights of children who are not biologically related to that spouse.

However, inheritance rights can also pass to your parents, siblings or even your cousins if you don’t have any immediate family. If the state can’t locate any family members at all, then your assets could all wind up the possession of the state of Georgia.

Not leaving a will means not naming a guardian

Even if you don’t have issues with your property passing to the right party, not having a last will can be a mistake. The people who depend on you most need you to consider them in your last will. If you have children or are a guardian over an adult loved one with special needs, you can name a guardian in your last will to ensure there is someone to take care of those currently under your protection.

Naming a guardian is one of the most important things that a parent or current legal guardian can do for those under their care. Rather than waiting to see if you need a will in the future, creating one now will help you feel more protected and ensure that your loved ones will have someone to take care of them if you die.