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What Happens if I Die Without an Estate Plan?

Despite the importance of having an estate plan, many Americans die without one every day. Individuals who die without an estate plan are said to die intestate. If you die intestate, Georgia law determines how your assets will be distributed. All fifty states have laws concerning intestate succession.

The purpose of intestate succession law is to distribute a decedent’s estate in a manner that conforms to what the average person would have wanted. Most intestate succession plans follow a standard pattern of transferring assets to a decedent’s closest relatives, beginning with his or her spouse and children. If the decedent does not have a surviving spouse or child, the assets will typically go to his or her parents, then his or her siblings, then his or her nieces and nephews, then to his or her grandparents. If no relatives can be located, a person’s estate will go to the state.

Without an estate plan, your loved ones will have a more difficult time navigating the process of probate. The probate court will likely oversee the entire process, which will result in more time and higher costs. The probate court will also appoint an administrator. This person may not be the person you would have chosen, had you drafted a will.

Not only can drafting an estate plan ensure that your assets will be distributed based on your wishes, but it can also ensure that more of your assets are going to your desired beneficiaries, rather than the government. Many estate planning tools such as trusts and other non-probate transfers are popular as tax avoidance measures.

At Goldberg & Associates, we specialize in handling elder law and elder law cases. All of our resources are at your fingertips when you work with Goldberg & Associates. We will do everything in our power to ensure the maximum amount that can be saved, will be saved for your retirement. No stone goes unturned at Goldberg & Associates; we are prepared to make sure you do everything you need to in order to max out those savings options, and make way for the time when you will get to retire.