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Avoiding estate administration and probate

The goal of many Georgia residents is to avoid making their families wait to receive their inheritances. Most often, this is done by creating an estate plan that bypasses estate administration and probate. Several estate-planning tools help in this endeavor.

Some property passes to family members by operation of law. For example, if a husband and wife own a home as "joint tenants with rights of survivorship," when one spouse dies, the other automatically becomes full owner of the property. The home would only go through probate after the surviving spouse's death if other arrangements are not made in advance.

Other assets can be held in a revocable living trust, which allows beneficiaries immediate access to the assets in it in accordance with its terms. Georgia residents are cautioned to be sure that all appropriate assets are transferred into the trust when it is created and as they are acquired. Otherwise, any assets not in the trust may have to go through probate. This trust can be costly up front, but the time and resources it saves surviving family members may be worth it.

Other estate-planning tools could help keep assets out of the estate administration and probate process. It would be beneficial for any Georgia resident whose goal this is to speak with an attorney. Depending on your circumstances, he or she could make recommendations to help meet all of your goals, not just this one. In addition, if individuals are unsure about the goals for their estate plans, discussing it could help determine what it is they hope to achieve.

Source: Forbes, "Probate, Wills, Executors: Your Estate Planning Questions Answered", Richard Eisenberg, April 7, 2017

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191 Peachtree Street NE, Suite 4400
Atlanta, GA 30303
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