Sibling Inheritance Law in Georgia

by Elizabeth Rayne
A Georgia will must have two signatures to be valid.

A Georgia will must have two signatures to be valid.

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A properly executed will is an important step in ensuring that your property and possessions will pass to your siblings. In Georgia, certain procedures must be followed to create a valid will, and the amount transferred can vary based on the nature of the relationship between the person drafting the will and those inheriting under it. If no valid will is in existence at the time of death, the decedent's property will still pass to his heirs based on Georgia's intestate laws, which organize relatives based on their proximity to the decedent's immediate family.

Formalities

Siblings may inherit from another sibling's will, provided the will is valid under Georgia law. The sibling who drafted the will must have been at least 14 years old and possess the capacity to express his wishes. Georgia law also requires that wills be signed in the presence of two witnesses.

Siblings vs. Surviving Spouse

In some cases, a Georgia resident may leave more to siblings than a surviving spouse. A surviving spouse has fewer rights in Georgia than in any other state. If the testator desires, person who wrote the will, he can leave his entire estate to anyone he wants; however, the surviving spouse is entitled to receive at least one year of financial support under the spouse's will. After the spouse is supported for one year, the rest of the estate may be distributed according to the decedent's wishes, including distribution of the remainder to the surviving siblings.

Intestacy

When a Georgia resident dies without a valid will, the law refers to this as having died intestate. With intestacy, instead of following the decedent's wishes, Georgia law dictates how the property will be distributed. The estate of a decedent first passes to the spouse, parents, children, or descendants of children, before passing to his siblings. In other words, if the decedent did not have a will, siblings will only receive a part of the estate if the decedent does not have a living spouse, parents, children, or any surviving descendants of his children.

Degrees of Intestacy

Under Georgia law, children, parents and siblings are considered different degrees of decedents, which affects their right to a portion of the estate and their children's right to receive a part of the estate. Children of the descendant are in the first degree, meaning they will always take a part of the estate in case of intestacy. If any of the children have already passed away, the grandchildren take the place of their predeceased parent and share equally with the surviving children. Parents of the decedent are in the second degree, while siblings are in the third degree. If the decedent's siblings are entitled to inherit from the estate, they will share equally. If any of the siblings are predeceased and had children, those children, the nieces and nephews of the deceased, may take their predeceased parent's share.