Georgia Estate Planning Considerations

Common-Law State

Georgia is a Common Law State, which means the rules governing the ownership, division, and inheritance of income and property acquired by a husband or wife during their marriage hold that subject to various qualifications, each spouse owns and has complete control over their own her income and property.

Last Will and Testament

Will Creation

The minimum age of a person competent to make a will is 14. The number of witnesses necessary to execute a will is two.

Georgia Transfers to Minors Act

The original custodial gift may be a life insurance policy or annuity contract.

Custodial property may be invested in or used to pay premiums on (1) a policy on the minor’s life if the minor’s estate is the sole beneficiary, or (2) a policy on a third party in whom the child has an insurable interest if the minor or the custodian is the irrevocable beneficiary.

The custodial account terminates when:

  •  The minor child reaches age 21 for custodial transfers made by irrevocable lifetime gift, will, trust, or exercise of a power of appointment.
  •  The minor child reaches age 18 concerning other custodial transfers.
  •  The minor child dies.

Dying without a Last Will, the Georgia laws of Intestacy.

In probate, all heirs must agree on how estate property is to be divided.

 The estate goes to the surviving spouse, as follows:

  • If there are no children or other descendants, —100% of the estate
  • If there is any child or other surviving descendant—the estate is shared equally with the children (descendants taking a deceased child’s share, per stirpes), but no less than one‐third of the estate

If there is no surviving spouse, or if a portion of the estate does not go to the spouse:

  • 100% to children equally, with descendants of any deceased children taking per stirpes (see OCGA §53‐2‐1(c))

If there is no surviving spouse, child, or other descendants:

  • 100% to a surviving parent or parents equally

If there is no surviving spouse, child, other descendants, or parent:

  • 100% of the estate goes to siblings equally, with the descendants of a deceased sibling taking per stirpes (see OCGA §53‐2‐1(c)).
  • If no sibling survives, then surviving nieces and nephews take the estate in equal shares, with the descendants of a deceased niece or nephew taking per stirpes (see OCGA §53‐2‐1(c)).

If none of the above:

  • Intestacy laws outline further distribution steps to the level of grandparents and their descendants. See OCGA §53‐2‐1(c)(6), (7), (8).
  • If no legally described recipient can be found, estate assets go to the state of Georgia.

Digital Assets

Georgia passed the Revised Fiduciary Access to Digital Assets Act to fortify that testators can retain control of their digital property and plan for its ultimate disposition.


Inheritance Tax

Georgia does not impose an inheritance tax.

Credit Estate Tax

Georgia imposes an estate tax equal to the maximum credit permitted for paid state estate and inheritance taxes under IRC Sec. 2011. However, the current federal tax code does not permit a credit for state estate or inheritance taxes paid. Therefore, there is no credit estate tax in effect at this time.

Generation-Skipping Transfer Tax (GST Tax)

Georgia does not impose a GST tax.

Gift Tax

Georgia does not impose a gift tax.

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