Answers to Common Questions and Situations

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What Happens When an Heir Dies While an Estate Is Still in Probate?

what happens if an heir dies before distribution

When someone who is an heir or a beneficiary of an estate dies while that estate is still pending, Georgia probate law says that the property that was supposed to go to that person will be inherited that person’s estate instead. For example, let’s assume your spouse’s parent passes away first. Your spouse was supposed inherit a portion of his or her parent’s estate, but your spouse dies before their parent’s estate was settled. In this situation, the portion of the parent’s estate that was supposed to go to your spouse becomes a part of your spouse’s estate.

So, where the parent’s property ultimately ends up will be determined by how your spouse’s estate is set up. If there is a will, then it will direct what happens to the property.

If your spouse did not have a will, then the property will go to the heirs at law. The heirs are determined by Georgia probate law.

One thing to keep in mind when a spouse passes away is that Georgia has very strong spousal support statutes called year’s support. Year’s support is a special, and complicated, petition that can allow the probate court to award part or all of an estate to a surviving spouse.

Multiple estate situations can get pretty complex fast. As a result, we recommend that anyone facing this type of issue call our office for a consultation.

Disclaimer: The information above is provided for general information only and should not be considered legal advice. Our probate attorneys provide legal advice to our clients after talking about the specific circumstances of the client’s situation. Our law firm cannot give you legal advice unless we understand your situation by talking with you. Please contact our law office to receive specific information about your situation.

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About the author

Erik J. Broel
Founder & CEO

Erik founded the firm in 2009. He sees it as his personal mission to demystify the process of handling an estate or trust, and to help people by making the complex estate process simple and accessible. He believes there is always a better way to do things, and loves finding new and innovative ways to deliver better, more effective service that solves the client’s key problem or issue, and improves the client’s life.

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