When a beloved family member passes away, the last thing you want is a long, drawn out, legal battle over who takes ownership of their property and assets. When an individual dies without a will, their estate must go through the probate process. That process can be prolonged and expensive, and might leave potential heirs with far less of an inheritance than the deceased originally intended.

No matter the size of an estate, a will is always the fastest, simplest way to ensure property is distributed according to the final wishes of their owner. The purpose of probate is to provide a legal forum for verifying the validity of a will, presiding over any matters in the will that are contested, appointing someone to serve as executor of the estate if this has not already been stipulated, taking stock and inventory of the deceased’s estate, overseeing payment of any debts or taxes left behind, and making a final distribution of assets to lawful beneficiaries.

In the state of Georgia, the purpose of probate court is to protect the interest of inheritors, beneficiaries, and creditors. Fortunately, not all assets must go through the probate process. For example, a widow is automatically entitled to full ownership of the home she shared with her spouse upon his death. Assets assigned to a named beneficiary will also avoid the prolonged probate process. This might include IRAs, life insurance policies, and pension accounts. Additionally, assets assign to be paid on death or transferred on death usually avoid going to probate court.

If you’ve recently lost a loved one, or simply want to ensure your own assets are distributed accordingly upon your demise, contact the estate planning attorneys at Grissom Law, LLC. They will help you avoid the arduous and expensive process of probate court and ensure you make your own final decisions and honor those of the person you loved.

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