Answers to Common Questions and Situations

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If There Is a Trust, Is Probate Required to Receive an Inheritance?


Wills and trusts are two different ways someone can receive an inheritance. These can be used independently or together. What does Georgia probate law say when the deceased leaves both a will and a trust? Is probate required to receive an inheritance?

When a trust is created and funded properly, there are usually no assets to be distributed through the probate process. The trustee simply steps in and distributes the assets of the trust according to the rules laid out in the trust document, or takes other actions with the assets as required by the trust. If all the deceased’s assets and property were included in the trust, there is nothing left to distribute through the probate process. If this occurs, the person in possession of the decedent’s will only has the responsibility of filing the will with the probate court as required by Georgia probate law.

However, more often than not there are assets not titled in the trust’s name. Trusts are a great tool when utilized properly, but quite frequently there are assets left out. There could be bank accounts, retirement accounts, life insurance policies, and even real estate or other property that was never properly transferred to the trust. Unfortunately, all too often people tend to create a trust and do not put the right property into it, or forget to put new property they acquire later into the trust.

In these cases, the trust does not actually own the property, and the deceased’s will needs to be probated in order for beneficiaries to receive their inheritance. This comes as a surprise to many people because it is so common for people to believe that once there is a trust, probate will not be necessary. The reality is that whether probate is required depends entirely upon who owned the property and how it was titled.

As you can imagine, sorting all of this out can be complicated. To get help with this, click here to schedule a consultation with our team.

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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