Sometimes when a spouse passes away, the surviving spouse and their family members are left wondering what items the estate should be financially responsible for. For example, when a spouse passes away, is the estate financially responsible for taxes or other costs associated with the home?
The first step in trying to answer this question is to find out who legally owned the home. For example, it could have been titled in the name of either spouse individually, both spouses jointly, or both spouses as tenants in common. Very often we find that the family may think a home is titled a certain way, but on closer inspection, the legal title is different than they thought. So, it is always important to check.
Under Georgia probate law, the deceased’s estate would only be financially responsible for the items that the deceased would have been responsible for during his or her life. So, for example, if the deceased would have been responsible for the property taxes or other costs associated with the home, then the deceased’s estate would also bear that financial responsibility. If, on the other hand, the deceased would not have had any legal responsibility to pay those taxes and costs, then his or her estate will not have any responsibility to do so. Who has legal responsibility for what will depend upon how the title to the property was held.
One of the larger issues we see when working with surviving spouses and their families on Georgia probate law matters is really separating out what was legally his, what what was legally hers, and what was legally theirs.
If you would like more help doing this or have more in depth questions, please contact a member of our friendly team to schedule a complimentary consultation.
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