To accomplish these probate avoidance techniques in Georgia, it's important to understand both state-specific regulations and applicable federal laws. Below is a summary for each technique:

  1. Set Up Payable-on-Death Accounts:

    • The Paperwork: Complete the bank's form to designate a POD beneficiary.
    • Adding a POD Designation to a Joint Account: Banks in Georgia allow this; follow the bank's process.
    • Choosing Beneficiaries: You're free to choose any individual or entity.
    • If a Beneficiary Dies Before You Do: You should update your beneficiary designation.
    • If You Change Your Mind: Change your POD designation at any time.
    • Claiming the Money: Beneficiaries must present identification and a death certificate to claim the funds.
  2. Name a Beneficiary for Your Retirement Accounts:

    • Choosing a Beneficiary: Can be anyone, subject to plan rules.
    • Required Minimum Distributions From Retirement Accounts: Governed by federal tax laws, not state-specific.
  3. Name a Beneficiary for Your Stocks and Bonds:

    • Transfer-on-Death Registration: Georgia allows TOD registration for securities.
    • Registration of Government Bonds and Notes: Governed by federal rules.
  4. Name a Beneficiary for Your Vehicles:

    • Transfer-on-Death Registration: Georgia permits TOD registration for vehicles.
    • Joint Ownership With the Right of Survivorship: Recognized in Georgia.
    • Special Transfer Procedures for Vehicles: Check with the Georgia Department of Revenue for specific procedures.
  5. Name a Beneficiary for Your Real Estate:

    • Can You Use a TOD Deed?: Georgia allows the use of Transfer on Death deeds.
    • How It Works: TOD deed transfers property upon death without probate.
    • Possible Drawbacks of TOD Deeds: Potential impact on taxes and eligibility for certain benefits.
    • How to Prepare, Sign, and Record the Deed: Must be signed, notarized, and recorded in the county where the property is located.
    • Three Ways to Cancel the Deed: Revoke it, sell the property, or transfer it to someone else.
    • How the New Owner Claims the Property: By presenting a death certificate and other documentation as required.
  6. Hold Property in Joint Ownership:

    • Kinds of Joint Ownership That Avoid Probate: Joint tenancy, tenancy by the entirety (for married couples), and community property.
    • Alternatives to Joint Ownership: Trusts or TOD deeds.
  7. Create a Living Trust:

    • How a Living Trust Avoids Probate: Property in the trust passes directly to beneficiaries.
    • Other Advantages: Privacy, potential tax benefits, and flexibility.
    • Why You Still Need a Will: To cover any assets not included in the trust.
    • Creating a Valid Living Trust: Must be properly drafted and executed.
    • What Property to Put In a Trust: Any property you wish to pass outside of probate.
    • Taxes and Record Keeping: Federal tax laws apply, and good record-keeping is essential.
    • Amending or Revoking a Living Trust Document: Follow the terms of the trust for amendments or revocation.
  8. Take Advantage of Special Procedures for Small Estates:

    • Why Even Large Estates May Qualify: Georgia has its own threshold for defining a small estate.
    • Claiming Wages With an Affidavit: Possible under certain circumstances.
    • Claiming Other Assets With Affidavits: Simplified procedures for small estates.
    • Simplified Court Procedures: Georgia has streamlined processes for smaller estates.

Each of these techniques should be approached with the guidance of a professional, as estate planning can be complex and varies based on individual circumstances. Remember, this is general information and not legal advice. For specific guidance, consulting with an attorney knowledgeable in Georgia's estate laws is recommended.


Free Probate Case Evaluation For Georgia

Do you have questions about your inheritance or need help with probate in Georgia?

Since 2016, LegalConsumer.com has connected thousands of consumers with lawyers who can help them.

Use the form below to connect with a lawyer through the Nolo / Martindale network of probate lawyers.

SPONSORED FORM - Nolo/Martindale Attorney Network

Jurisdictional relevance:

There are versions of this article for each State.