When someone dies, the probate process begins. If the deceased person left a will, then the estate gets distributed according to the will’s instructions. But, if the person died without a will, they died “intestate,” and state intestacy laws determine how the estate is distributed.
What is the meaning of intestate?
Many people choose to create wills in order to have some control over what happens to their assets and property after they die but sometimes people die without having ever made a will – this is what it means to die intestate.
If you die without a will, the government has a say in what happens to your assets. For one, the government may take a portion of your estate to settle any debts or taxes that you may owe. Then, the government will distribute your remaining assets according to state intestacy laws.
Understanding intestacy laws
In Georgia, if you die without a will, your assets may go to your surviving spouse if you have one. If you don’t have a surviving spouse, your assets may get distributed among your surviving children per wills and probate laws of the state.
If you don’t have any surviving children, your assets may go to your parents or other close relatives, according to state law. Additionally, if you are married, your spouse will typically inherit all or most of your intestate property. This is not the case in every state, however, so it’s important to understand the intestacy laws in your state before assuming what will happen to your assets if you die without a will. While it’s not required by law, it’s generally a good idea to have a will, even if your estate is small.
A will gives you the ability to determine how your assets will be distributed after your death and can help avoid disputes among your loved ones. It’s also important to update your will regularly, as your assets and family situation may change over time. You wouldn’t want your ex-spouse to inherit your assets if you’re no longer married, for example.