Who Inherits When You Die WITHOUT a Will in the State of Georgia?


As an estate planning attorney, I want to make sure clients are very clear on the consequences of not having a plan in place. Most people assume that things will work out and that their assets will automatically go to the people they would choose. But unfortunately, most people assume WRONG!

In the state of Georgia, if you die without a will, there are laws called “intestacy” laws that will determine who inherits your property. If you died without leaving written instructions through a Last Will and Testament, Georgia law will control who inherits the property you leave behind.

How does Georgia decide? Pursuant to O.C.G.A. § 53-2-1, Georgia courts would essentially look at your family tree to determine who inherits your property. Here’s a general overview of the relevant code section:

  • If you are married with no children, your spouse will inherit everything; however,

  • If you are married WITH children, your spouse AND children will inherit in equal shares.

  • OCGA § 53-2-1 specifies that the surviving spouse will not receive no less than 1/3 of the estate no matter how many children survive you.

  • CAUTION: It does not matter that you leave behind minor children. Under Georgia law, they would still inherit with your surviving spouse!

  • If you are single with children, your children would inherit in equal shares.

  • NOTE: If any of your children predecease you and they had children, thei