There may be many in Dalton who think that there will be plenty of time later in their lives to see to their estate planning. Yet such thinking leads to many entering into their golden years without even having a will. Research information shared by Forbes Magazine shows that over half of Americans over the age of 55 do not have a will. If any amongst this group were to die unexpectedly, the obvious that would arise from amongst their potential beneficiaries would be who among them is entitled to inherit their estates. 

The legal term assigned to one who dies without a will is “intestate.” States create their own guidelines detailing who intestate estates are to be distributed. Georgia’s can be found in Section 53-2-1 of the state’s detailing Wills, Trusts, and Administration of Estates. Here, it states that one’s intestate estate shall be divided equally amongst their surviving spouse and their children (with the descendants of one’s child who has preceded them in death inheriting that child’s share). In this scenario, the portion of the estate going to the surviving spouse shall never be less than one-third of its overall value. In the event one leaves behind no lineal descendant’s, their spouse is their sole heir. 

If one has no surviving spouse, their children inherit their intestate estate. If they have no children, then their estate will pass to their parents, siblings (and their children), grandparents, and so on to their nearest next of kin. One may notice that no allowances are made to friends, charitable organizations, or any other parties that are not directly related to the decedent. If one wishes to pass any assets on to such parties, they must create their own will detailing such stipulations.