Understanding Georgia’s Anti-Lapse Statutes

Before you can better appreciate Georgia’s anti-lapse statutes and how they can benefit you, you must first know what a “lapse” is. When you meet with your estate planning attorney and create a will or a specific type of trust, you do so for several reasons. Although estate planning can give you a significant amount of asset protection, it also enables you to pass your assets to your chosen beneficiaries. 

For the sake of simplicity, imagine that a man drafts a will and leaves all of his assets to his only son. However, the son, unfortunately, passes away before his father. When this happens, those assets return to you. You will be designated as the grantor or testator, depending on which document you created. (Grantors establish trusts, and testators are associated with wills.) In this scenario, a lapse has occurred. 

Anti-Lapse Statutes

To take the scenario one step further, imagine that the man who created the will was a grandfather. After he leaves his assets to his son, the son passes away. Shortly after that, the grandfather (the person who signed the will) also dies. Because the assets went back to the estate, his grandchildren don’t have an immediate claim to any of the assets. Why? The assets returned to the grandfather’s estate when his son passed away. 

Georgia’s Anti-Lapse Statute was created to prevent this from happening. Because the children are direct descendants of the grandfather, the assets pass to them rather than lapsing back to the original estate, which could cause significant issues during probate. 

Georgia’s Anti-Lapse Statute only applies to descendants of the testator or the grantor. In other words, if someone leaves their belongings to a neighbor (who is not related to them), everything does not get transferred to the neighbor’s spouse or children if he passes away around the same time as the person who created the will. 

The Importance of Georgia’s Anti-Lapse Statutes 

Estate planning allows you to plan for the future despite its inherent unpredictability. This is why DIY wills may not give you the level of security and protection you need. Even if you want to give your assets to one person, you need to know what happens to those assets if that person passes away before you. 

When you work with J. Kevin Tharpe, P.C., we will work with you to ensure your assets go where you want them to. Since 2009, we have been working with clients like you and giving them the peace of mind that comes with diligent estate planning. We have witnessed how estate plans get challenged, and we understand how to prepare for these possibilities. If you have any further questions or are ready to meet with an attorney, contact us today to schedule a consultation.

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Kevin Tharpe

With 25 years of experience, Kevin understands how estate planning, special needs planning, and government benefits programs work together. This is a crucial element of a thorough plan. He explains your eligibility for benefits programs and ensures that you do not make costly mistakes that may disqualify you or deplete your assets.

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