Sibling Inheritance Law in Georgia

By Elizabeth Rayne

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.


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.

Protect your loved ones. Start My Estate Plan


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.

Protect your loved ones. Start My Estate Plan
Virginia Inheritance Law for Siblings


Related articles

Inheritance Laws in Louisiana

If you die without a will in Louisiana, you have no control over the distribution of the estate you leave behind. It’s called dying “intestate.” When this happens, state laws dictate the distribution of your estate. In Louisiana, however, the inheritance laws are unusually unique.

Pennsylvania State Law for Adoption Inheritance Rights

If you write a will to include your adopted child or children, the will governs how assets will be distributed to those children upon your death. An adopted child may still be able to inherit if the parent omitted her from a will. If a parent did not write a will, that parent's assets will be distributed through the state's laws of intestate succession, which means assets are distributed to relatives according to state law.

Inheritance Sharing Law in Maryland

A valid will ensures that your property passes according to your wishes after your death. In Maryland, if you fail to make a will or the document does not meet the state's legal requirements, your estate will be distributed according to the state's inheritance sharing rules. In such cases, the law places surviving spouses and children first in line to receive the estate, followed by parents, siblings, grandparents and stepchildren. If no heirs can be found, the estate becomes the property of the state.

LegalZoom. Legal help is here. Start Here. Wills. Trusts. Attorney help. Wills & Trusts

Related articles

Dying Without a Will in Georgia

As in most states, if you die without a will in Georgia, or make an invalid will, your assets will be distributed ...

What if the Heir Predeceases the Decedent in Texas?

In Texas, if an heir of a person dies before him, what happens to the heir's share of the estate depends on whether the ...

Laws About Inheritance at a Father's Death in Georgia

Title 53 of the Georgia Code governs the administration of wills, estates and trusts. This code also covers the laws of ...

The Inheritance Hierarchy Without a Will in New York State

A person who dies without leaving a will is said to have died “intestate.” New York courts distribute intestate ...

Browse by category
Ready to Begin? GET STARTED