What is a Will?

A will is a document that you use to say what you want to have happen to your property after you die. A person making a will is called a "testator."

What happens if I die without a will?

If you die without a will, your property will be distributed according to Georgia’s intestate law. "Intestate" is when a person dies without a will. If you die without a will, then your property will be distributed to your spouse and your children. They will inherit equally, although your spouse will inherit at least 1/3 of your estate, no matter how many children you have.. If one of your children dies before you do, then his or her children will inherit his or her share equally. If you do not have a spouse or children, your parents will inherit and if your parents die before you do, then your brothers and sisters will inherit equally. If one of them dies before you do, then his or her children will inherit his or her share equally.

What property can I give away in my will?

You can use your will to say how you want any property that you own to be divided. This includes real property or land and personal property such as furniture, clothing, dishes, pictures and jewelry.

Who takes care of things after I die?

When you make a will, you will also select a person to carry out your wishes for you after you die. This person is called the “Executor.” If you die without a will, then someone will need to petition the court to administer your estate. This person is called the “Administrator.” An Executor and an Administrator are also sometimes called “Personal Representatives.” They take care of matters dealing with your estate under the guidance and supervision of the probate court.

Will going to Probate Court cost a lot of money?

Generally it will not cost a lot of money to go through the probate process. The probate court tries to make it easy for your family or friends to handle your affairs. They can provide you with the forms and other information. It is a good idea to speak with an attorney about these matters however.

SOURCE: Atlanta Legal Aid Society