Questions for a Probate Attorney in Georgia: Does All Property Go Through Probate?

real estate going through probate court

Probate attorneys in Georgia are charged with the responsibility of helping a deceased’s loved ones through the probate process.  This is the court procedure that closes out a person’s estate when he or she has passed away.  If the deceased did not set up a trust, then there is a very high chance that probate will be necessary.

During the probate process, the deceased’s property needs to be accounted for, a responsibility that usually falls to a person appointed by the courts.  Again, the probate attorney will help the family member or other appointed individual by directing him or her in how to do this accounting.  One of the biggest questions at this time is what property goes through probate, and what property is exempt?

Laws can differ from state to state, so it’s important to meet with a Georgia probate lawyer to ensure you have all of the relevant information.  That said, here are some general guidelines to follow:

  • Real estate, personal possessions, and some bank accounts need to be accounted for and go through the probate process
  • Life insurance generally does NOT go through probate, as there is a named beneficiary
  • Many retirement accounts do NOT go through probate, either, for the same reason
  • Some bank accounts do NOT go through probate, if the deceased set them up as “Pay-on-death” or “in trust for”
  • Living trusts do NOT go through probate, which is one of the main reasons for creating them in the first place

Keep in mind that simply having a will does not necessarily circumvent the probate in Chatham County.  While this document is helpful in determining how your estate is to be distributed, the courts will still have to determine its validity and pay any outstanding debts from the estate.  What is left can then be distributed according to the wishes outlined in the will.

There are some complaints with the process that probate lawyers in Savannah hear regularly.  For one thing, it can be costly.  It also takes a considerable amount of time for the estate to go through probate.  Finally, the process is public, which means that pretty much anyone can have access to information regarding the value of the estate and how it is distributed.  In many cases, these are simply unavoidable annoyances.  If these are major concerns for you, then talk to a probate lawyer in Savannah in advance so you can determine how best to protect your assets in a way that avoids probate altogether.

Do you need help with a probate matter? Schedule your consultation today:


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