We all live with the daily knowledge that nothing in life is set in stone. It’s not a fun task to think about the contingencies that need consideration in the event of your death. For those without an estate plan in place, it is their families who often bear the burden of the loose ends related to finances, taxes, debt, and asset division.
Dying without a will
If you die without a will, this contingency is called ‘intestacy.’ In Georgia, your estate will be subject to ‘intestate succession’ laws and would most likely pass to your spouse or next of kin but not without added obstacles. Here some of the complications that arise when a will isn’t present at the time of death or that will is contested:
- Probate: The probate process can delay the transfer of your assets to heirs and can become even more complicated if there are contests to your will. In Georgia, there are two forms of probate, solemn form probate and common form probate. If there is a will present with no issues, then common form probate is the process that a court will most likely use. In this form, the court only contacts the named heirs regarding the will. Courts use solemn form probate more often when there is a contested will or no will present. In this scenario, a court will attempt to contact all eligible heirs.
- Tax concerns: If the deceased did not make plans to avoid unnecessary taxes, the estate tax burden might prove very high comparatively if they have a large estate that is above the federal exemption amount.
- Debt: When a will is present, whoever you named executor is in charge of paying debts, including loans, liens, credit card bills, and filing tax returns.
Making sure you plan for your family’s future
You don’t want to force your family to make difficult decisions about their future in the midst of their grief. No matter what your age, it is crucial that you find an attorney with in-depth knowledge of estate planning to draft your will.