Estate planning can be a complicated process, which is why many Georgians put it off or don’t do it at all. Without a sound estate plan, and a will that declares what happens to one’s assets, the state will decide how everything is divided up based on the law. Dying without a will, which is called intestate, can leave family members with additional stress in an already difficult time of grief. When no will is available, the estate will go into probate which is often a lengthy and expensive process.
Dying without a will
When someone passes away without a legal will, the state probate court will decide how to distribute their estate. Probate court involves looking at assets and debts to decide who will receive those assets once the debts are covered. The court will follow generally accepted practices and award assets to the next of kin in most cases.
Probate can be stressful for a family when they’re grieving a loved one and navigating life without that person. Many people don’t want to burden their family with probate if possible and choose to create a detailed and legal estate plan. It’s important to know that in some cases, no matter how the estate plan is written, the estate must still go through the probate process.
A carefully written will and thorough estate plan doesn’t mean that probate can be avoided. Anyone who finds themselves going through the probate process after the death of a loved one can consult a Georgia attorney to understand the process. While the process may not be easy, having someone on one’s side can provide the guidance needed to do what’s necessary during probate.