Skip to main content

What is the best way to divide assets of the deceased the way they spoke of it before their death?

Savannah, GA |

Charlie has no will but talks often on how he wants his assets divided between four children. He often says, "i guess this should be in writing." What is the best way to accomplish this - a will or some other kind of statement that will stand up in court?

+ Read More

Attorney answers 6


The only document which will stand up in court is a duly executed will which sets forth Charlie's wishes. Please have him consult with an experienced estate planning lawyer to prepare a new will and, perhaps, other estate planning documents which will accomplish his goals. Good luck to you and Charlie.

This information is presented as a public service. It should not be construed to be formal legal advice nor considered to be the formation of a lawyer/client relationship. I am licensed in Connecticut and New York and my answers are based upon the law in those jurisdictions. My answer to any specific question would likely be different if I were to review a client's file and have the opportunity to interview the client. Accordingly, I strongly urge you to retain an attorney in your jurisdiction with respect to any legal matter.


If he has no spouse and only four children, who are living when he passes away, Georgia law provides that the estate would be split equally among the 4 children. However, there are many things which can happen prior to his death which could change that, and there may be many factors he is not thinking about, including what happens if one of the children dies before him, who is in charge of the distribution, is property to be sold and the proceeds divided, etc. The best way to deal with all contingencies and make an estate be split exactly how he wants is to do a simple will. Also, administering an estate with no will generally will cost more to probate than a will would.

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


You've got the correct answer right in your question: the way to ensure that Charlie's wishes are carried out is for him to have a properly-prepared, properly executed Will, and to ensure that his asset ownership and beneficiary designations are all consistent with that Will. Depending on what Charlie's wishes actually are, how his potential heirs may feel about them, and some other factors, it may also be a good idea for him to prepare a revocable trust, in addition to a Will, and coordinate his asset ownership and beneficiary designations with that. What Charlie really needs to do is go see an experienced estate planning attorney in the state where he has his primary residence, and get some good advice and a good plan.

This answer is not intended to provide you with specific legal advice regarding your situation, or to create any attorney-client relationship. The intent is only to provide general information. You should be aware that you cannot rely on this answer to provide you with any protection against tax penalties. You should always consult your own attorney in order to obtain legal advice.


Talk him into seeing a lawyer and writing a will. That is the ONLY document where he can decide how things are done. Nothing he says will matter at all. And intestate distribution is almost always more complex than a will, so he is not doing anyone a favor by putting this off.

If you find this answer helpful, please mark it here on AVVO as helpful. In answering you, I am attempting to communicate general legal information and am not representing you (and am not your lawyer). Do feel free to call me at 404-768-3509 if you wish to discuss actual representation (the phone call also does not retain counsel; that requires an office visit and appropriate paperwork). In that a forum such as this provides me with limited details and doesn't allow me to review details and documents, it is possible that answers here, while meant to be helpful, may in some cases not be complete or accurate, and I highly recommend that you retain legal counsel rather than rely on the answers here. (You can also email my office at . An email also does not retain my office, but can help you get an appointment set if you prefer not to call). I am happy to discuss possible representation with you. Any information in this communication is for discussion purposes only, and is not offered as legal advice. There is no right to rely on the information contained in this communication and no attorney-client relationship is formed. Nothing in my answer should be considered as tax-advice. To ensure compliance with IRS Circular 230, any U.S. federal tax advice provided in this communication is not intended or written to be used, and it cannot be used by the recipient or any other taxpayer (i) for the purpose of avoiding tax penalties that may be imposed on the recipient or any other taxpayer, or (ii) in promoting, marketing or recommending to another party a partnership or other entity, investment plan, arrangement or other transaction addressed herein. I am also required to advise you, if your question concerns bankruptcy, that the U.S. Congress has designated Ashman Law Office as a debt relief agency that can help people file bankruptcy.


Everyone dies either with or without a will. With a will, the will controls. Without a will, the state's default rules control. What he said, mused, mumbled, emailed, or texted in life is irrelevant.

↓ Mark this answer as "Helpful" or "Best Answer" if you like it. For more information, contact us at or (404) 835-7595. The initial consultation is always free for Avvo users.


Charlie needs to see an estate planning professional and put his wishes in writing. A professional estat planning attorney will look at everything Charlie ones and how he owns it. The, he or she Can give Charlie advice on the best way to title his property, help him make beneficiary designations ampnfd prepare a ill or trust. Also, a good estate planner will help Charlie plan for the possibility of disability by helping with a inancial power of attorney or living trust and health care advance directives.

Can't find what you're looking for?

Post a free question on our public forum.

Ask a Question

- or -

Search for lawyers by reviews and ratings.

Find a Lawyer