I know I shouldn’t be surprised. We all have a tendency to put things off. Still, the number of people that do not have their basic estate planning documents in order continues to amaze me. In particular, I am stunned by the number of young parents that have left this task undone. I think if they knew the law, they would make this a matter of priority.
If a person dies without a will in Georgia, their estate will be distributed as follows: Their spouse inherits a child’s share, but in no event, less than 1/3 of the estate. That means that if Bob and Sue are married with 3 children, when Bob dies, Sue will inherit 1/3 of Bob’s estate, and the children will split the balance of the 2/3 remaining. So, Sue gets 1/3 of the house, 1/3 of the money, 1/3 of the furnishings, automobiles…1/3 of everything. If the children are under the age of 18, then their share of the house, money, automobiles, etc., gets held by court appointed personnel. Do you see the problem here? Sue will continue to strive to take care of her family, but 2/3 of the assets will be completely tied up!
Now if Sue and Bob had come to see me, this terrible situation could have easily been avoided. We would have drafted up their wills, powers of attorney for property (at no cost) and their advanced health care directives (at no cost). The entire process would have taken them less than an hour and a half. Their check for these services would have been trifling compared to the benefit conveyed, and their wishes for their estate would have been easily accomplished
If you’ve been putting this off, give me a call. I’d love to help! The process will be easier than you think! I promise.