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Every Wednesday our firm will bring you a series of blogs discussing topics covered in our practice areas. Today’s What is Wednesday post derives from my weekend binge of The Real Housewives of Atlanta. I missed a few weeks so I caught up this weekend and binged the last four or five episodes. On one of the episodes Kenya Moore met with an estate planning attorney to set up a trust for her adorable baby. While this scene went by quickly they did briefly discuss intestate succession. I’m sure their discussion was longer than what aired on television and since the subject matter of wills and trusts is dull they probably edited out most of the conversation. Nonetheless I’m excited to see this information being discussed on a highly rated and watched show like Real Housewives of Atlanta. Hopefully the influence these ladies have on the city of Atlanta, the State of Georgia, and the entire world will help promote the importance of estate planning.

While discussing the difference between a will and a trust the attorney advised Kenya that in Georgia if you die without a will your spouse and child would split your assets by rule of intestate succession. I thought it important to go into more detail because this is correct in Kenya’s particular situation where she has a spouse and one child, however the same does not go for a person who has a spouse and more than one child.

What is Intestate Succession?

Intestate succession is the law set in place that determines how and to whom your estate will distribute if you die without a will or some sort of estate planning document. It is important to understand intestate succession planning because if you do not have a will or trust you allow the state to make the decision on who gets your assets. The chart below shows how Georgia intestate succession works:

So why should I get a will and plan my estate if Georgia law already has a plan for me? There are many issues that you can run into when dealing with intestate succession. One of your heirs may pass away before you, you will need to designate that heir’s inheritance or it can make intestate succession more problematic. One of your heirs may have an unknown heir, which affects your intestate succession. One of your heirs may pass away after with you, or immediately after you without an estate plan, which will also make intestate succession more trying. Lastly, intestate succession is time consuming and more expensive your family.

To learn more about Estate Planning contact our firm today. Estate Planning consultations are always free. Also check out our products page for DIY Estate Planning forms for basic Georgia Estates. Feel free to contact us by email (, Instant or direct message @theblackfirm, or by phone 678-537-6833. Mention the promo code WIWIS for $5.00 off any estate planning online form. Offer expires January 29, 2020 at 11:59 pm EST. Consultations can be completed in person, over the phone, or virtually.

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