If you are planning your estate, you may have concerns about your family handling the expensive, complex probate process. Fortunately, state laws in Georgia may allow some or all of your estate assets to bypass probate and go straight to your intended beneficiaries.
Review the laws about probate in Georgia and incorporate these strategies into your estate plan.
Establish joint tenancy
If you establish a joint tenant (owner) for your home or other property, that person automatically inherits that asset when you die. Property held in joint tenancy does not require probate in Georgia but each person must own 50% of the asset in question.
Create a living trust
You can place almost any type of property in a living trust in Georgia and allow that asset to avoid probate. This strategy works for vehicles, bank accounts, real estate and countless other assets. When you create a living trust, you must transfer the property in question to ownership of the trust. You serve as trustee until your death, when a successor trustee of your choice takes over. He or she will have the legal power to transfer the trust assets to your designated beneficiaries.
Add payable on death designations
Certificates of deposit, savings accounts and other bank accounts can have a payable on death designation under Georgia law. While you retain control of the funds during your lifetime, the designated person will take control over the funds after you die without probate.
Using one or all of these strategies can help your estate avoid Georgia probate. Georgia also allows your heirs to avoid probate if they agree on estate division and the estate is debt-free.