If you have heard of probate, you have probably also heard that it can be costly and time-consuming. However, if you live in Georgia, your heirs may have options when it comes to your estate.
Review the Georgia probate process so these details can inform your estate plans.
Types of probate
Georgia distinguishes between common form and solemn form probate. Most estates use common form probate, in which the executor files a petition asking the court to allow him or her to administer the estate.
With solemn form probate, your executor must first notify all potential heirs. This includes anyone who would have inherited property if you died without a will. If you think a long-lost relative might contest the will, consider this type of probate.
The probate process
Some assets do not require probate in Georgia. Exempt property includes:
- Assets you placed in a revocable living trust
- Assets for which you have named a beneficiary, such as life insurance policies and retirement accounts
- Assets you owned along with a survivor, such as real estate you share with a spouse
If you own assets outside these categories, your named executor or personal representative will start the probate process. He or she must gather and value all estate assets, pay taxes on behalf of the state, deal with possible creditor claims, and distribute property to your heirs in accordance with your wishes.
If you do not have a will when you die, the court will appoint a person in your family to serve this role. In this case, the inheritance goes by Georgia state law