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How do you divide property if theres no will?

Valdosta, GA |

My parents has passed away and there was no will verbally my dad gave my brother his acre of land and when mom died last year there was still no will there were 5 kids and since then my sister has passed How would we divide the land and how since there was no will. Can we sell the land and split it 4 ways We just dont know what or how do it since there was no will and one of our sisters has passed,

There is 2 acres of land we all decided amoung ourselvies to just sell but we dont know how to do this since there was 5 kids after moms death. Now there is 4 of us. My older sister is the executor of the eastate. Thank you all for all the good advice.

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Attorney answers 5


Verbal gifts of land have no meaning. You have at least two intestate estates to probate, and the fact that you waited until an heir died means you probably have three estates to probate. You need to sit down with a probate lawyer to prepare the three petitions, and sort through who gets what. There's no way to sell anything until someone gets the court's permission, and the longer you wait the more complex and expensive it will get.

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Thank you the death of my sister was 3 weeks ago from a illness and my mom was 10 months ago . We did appoint my older sister as the executor thru probate after mom passed.

Glen Edward Ashman

Glen Edward Ashman


I'm sorry for your losses,. You can't appoint her executor, as that only happens with a will. In any event, you NEED a lawyer, as you have three estates that have to be coordinated, and that is not a do it yourself project.


Mr. Ashman is absolutely correct. It sounds as though you have three intestate (no will) estates that will need to go through probate. This could be very complicated given the deceased heirs. you have not provided any details regarding whether the deceased sister had issue. You need to consult with a local probate attorney for guidance with this.

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I agree with Mr. Ashman's response. Probate is necessary here, and a qualified probate attorney is probably the first person to contact.

When dividing land in an estate, the administrator (the person appointed by the court if there is no will) can operate in a few different ways.

He may simply give a deed to and undivided 1/5 interest in the land to each heir and let them sort it out among themselves. Alternatively, he may petition the court for power to sell the land and do that, distributing the proceeds to the heirs after costs have been paid. Frequently, heirs to an estate will hire a surveyor and divide the property by drawing new boundary lines.

Since it seems from your question we are dealing with only one acre of land, a sale may be the best approach.

Please accept my condolences for your recent loss.

No attorney-client relationship or privilege is formed by this communication.



Thank you there is 2 acres of land we all agree to among ourselves to sell the land but we didnt know how due to the death of our sister 3 weeks ago.

Tanner Woods Pittman

Tanner Woods Pittman


Understood. Again, I am sorry for your loss. As the other answerers say, your sister's estate is entitled to her interest in the land.


One cannot transfer real estate verbally in Georgia, so the giving of the land to your brother was not enforceable. When there is no Will, the property of the person who passed away would be divided "per stirpes".

What that means, in very broad terms, and without taking into account exceptions which may exist, and given the fact that there were 5 kids, when your first parent passed away, the surviving parent would be entitled to 1/3 of the estate, and the rest would be divided between the deceased parent's children. When the second parent passed away, the 1/3 he or she received from the first parent, along with any property the second parent had when they passed, would be divided between the children of the second parent equally. If one of the children passed away, as your sister did, her share would go to her children or grandchildren if she had no children. If she had no descendants, her share would go likely go to her remaining descendants.

Please note that this is complicated, and there are exceptions (such as property held as joint tenants with rights of survivorship), but can be easily sorted out in person where a lawyer can ask you more specific questions. There is also a method by which you and your other siblings could possibly agree to give your brother the property your father verbally said was his, should the rest of you choose to do this.

Call a local probate attorney and go over all of the facts with them. They can answer this quickly and easily and, as you can see from my response, this is something which can be explained verbally in person alot easier than here.

The above information is general in nature. In order to obtain more specific and legal advice upon which to base your important decisions, please contact our office directly for a free phone or in person consultation. Robert M. Gardner, Jr. Hicks, Massey & Gardner, LLP 53 W. Candler St. Or 718 Oak St. Winder, Ga. 30680 Gainesville, Georgia (770) 307-4899 (770) 538-0555 serving metro Atlanta and all of Northeast Georgia Bankruptcy, Divorce, Personal Injury, Worker’s Compensation, Medical Malpractice, Adoption, Civil and Criminal Litigation


I agree with the two other lawyer. Go see an attorney.

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