Summary: Georgia Estate Planning and Probate Law Firm Siedentopf Law explains what may happen to your loved one’s estate if you cannot find his or her will.
Not everyone has a will, and not everyone who has a will has told enough people where to find it when it is needed. It is entirely possible to find yourself in the position of not knowing where a loved one’s will is when you need it.
The first step is to look. Ask other relatives and close friends to see if anyone knows anything. Then dig into whatever papers you may find in the house. People often keep important papers together in one location and that location may be a safe deposit box at the bank. (If necessary, you may need to file Georgia’s Petition to Enter Safe Deposit Box to gain access.) It is also possible to file your will with the probate court of the county that you live in. If you can’t find the will anywhere else, check with the last county or two that the decedent lived in.
If you strongly suspect that your loved one had a will, you may decide to wait awhile and see if it turns up. You may probate the will whenever you find it. Georgia does not have a time limit.
If you can’t find a will and you doubt that there is one, or if you know there is not one, what can you do? You will find yourself doing an Heir Determination Worksheet which is available online, and filing for Letters of Administration. This is similar to probating a will, but divides up the estate when there is no will. The result may not be exactly what the decedent would have wanted, but it does guarantee that things go to family members.
Check out our list of things to get done. If you have additional questions or would like to set up an estate planning appointment, you can contact Siedentopf Law at (404) 736-6066 or via the contact form on our website.
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