Wills are only one component of an effective estate plan. However, a majority of Americans do not even have that. According to one poll in 2016, 56 percent of American adults do not have a will. While many people assume they have plenty of time to create a will, the truth of the matter is that individuals never know when they may need one, so it is vital to make one as soon as possible.
Unfortunately, many people die without a will in place. This can create numerous headaches for their surviving family members, especially if there are many assets to divide. Here is what is most likely to happen when people die without a will in Georgia.
All of the assets will go to the surviving spouse and/or children
In the event a person does not have any children or grandchildren when he or she passes away, then all of the assets will go to the spouse. If children are in the picture, then the state divides the assets equally among the spouse and children. According to Georgia law, the surviving spouse will always retain at least a minimum of a third of the estate regardless of how many children the couple had.
With no spouse and children, assets go to the parents
If a Georgia resident still has parents who are alive and no spouse or children, then they will retain all of the deceased's belongings and money. When the parents are not alive, then ownership goes down to the next of kin. The next in line to receive assets are any siblings. The order of succession from there goes to nieces, nephews, grandparents, uncles, aunts and cousins.
The estate can go to the local board of education
If the deceased does not have any living heirs, then the assets go to the local board of education. Unknown heirs have 60 days to come forward to claim the estate.