Husbands and wives always inherit the house when one dies
Here is the next installment of estate planning and probate myths.
Jointly owned real estate goes automatically to your husband/wife. It is possible for jointly held property to go automatically to a spouse in Georgia. However, it is not the default rule here. The default rule in Georgia is that a joint property owner can leave their portion to whomever they wish (with some exceptions). It is possible to opt into having property go automatically to the joint owner but, the deed must be structured to do this. This causes lots of problems because the issue is often not discovered until someone has already passed away. Sometimes it is not discovered until both owners have passed away. With some frequency, we see situations where one spouse has passed away and the surviving spouse did not take any action (because they didn’t know they needed to do anything.) Later when the surviving spouse passes away the children are left with a mess. The children must open estates for both mom and dad. Often, this is discovered at the closing table as the children are trying to sell the property. Trying to get probate to go fast enough to salvage a sale is very stressful and more expensive. It is important to meet with an estate planning attorney in Georgia to ensure your assets are arranged the way you think they are. If you have already lost a spouse (or parent) an attorney should be consulted to see if probate is necessary before a potential sale is in the balance.