2021 Georgia Code
Title 53 - Wills, Trusts, and Administration of Estates
Chapter 2 - Descent and Distribution
Article 1 - General Provisions
§ 53-2-7. Vesting of Title to Property; Right to Possession

Universal Citation: GA Code § 53-2-7 (2021)
  1. Upon the death of an intestate decedent who is the owner of any interest in real property, the title to any such interest which survives the intestate decedent shall vest immediately in the decedent's heirs at law, subject to divestment by the appointment of an administrator of the estate.
  2. The title to all other property owned by an intestate decedent shall vest in the administrator of the estate for the benefit of the decedent's heirs and creditors.
  3. Upon the appointment of an administrator, the title to any interest in real property which survives the intestate decedent shall vest in the administrator for the benefit of the heirs and creditors of the decedent, and title to such property shall not revest in the heirs until the administrator assents to such revesting. For purposes of this Code section, the assent of the administrator shall be proved in the manner set out in Code Section 53-8-15.
  4. Upon the appointment of an administrator, the right to the possession of the whole estate is in the administrator, and, as long as administration continues, the right to recover possession of the estate from all other persons is solely in the administrator. The administrator may recover possession of any part of the estate from the heirs at law or purchasers from them; but, in order to recover real property, it is necessary for the administrator to show, upon the trial, either that the property which is the subject of the action has been in the administrator's possession and without the administrator's consent is held by the defendant at the time of bringing the action or that it is necessary for the administrator to have possession for the purpose of paying the debts, making a proper distribution, or for other purposes provided for by law. An order for sale or distribution, granted by the judge of the probate court after notice to the defendant, shall be conclusive evidence of either fact.
  5. If an order has been entered under Code Section 53-2-41 that no administration is necessary, or if the administrator has assented to the vesting of title in the heirs, the heirs may take possession of the property or may sue for possession of the property in their own right.

(Code 1981, §53-2-7, enacted by Ga. L. 1996, p. 504, § 10; Ga. L. 1998, p. 1586, § 9; Ga. L. 2000, p. 1335, § 1.)

Cross references.

- Admissible evidence for determining parent and child relationship, § 19-7-46.

DNA analysis upon conviction of certain sex offenses, § 35-3-160 et seq.

Genetic testing, T. 33, C. 54.

Law reviews.

- For article advocating uniform treatment of the devolution of title, and abolition of distinctions based on the form of wealth or the fact of intestacy, see 10 Ga. L. Rev. 447 (1976). For annual survey on wills, trusts, guardianships, and fiduciary administration, see 64 Mercer L. Rev. 325 (2012). For note on 2000 amendment of this Code section, see 17 Ga. St. U.L. Rev. 320 (2000).


Editor's notes.

- In light of the similarity of the statutory provisions, opinions under former Code 1933, § 113-901, are included in the annotations for this Code section.

Notes given for purchase price of land are personalty and are subject to administration when holder dies intestate. 1962 Op. Att'y Gen. p. 609 (decided under former Code 1933, § 113-901).


Am. Jur. 2d.

- 23 Am. Jur. 2d, Descent and Distribution, §§ 5 et seq., 12, 14 et seq. 31 Am. Jur. 2d, Executors and Administrators, §§ 243 et seq., 337, 366, 367, 391, 392, 436, 463, 464, 490, 504, 535, 540, 542, 678 et seq., 688, 725, 728, 730, 731, 732, 744 et seq., 799 et seq., 803, 877, 964 et seq., 1124, 1126, 1133, 1136, 1141, 1145, 1168, 1169.


- 26B C.J.S., Descent and Distribution, §§ 1 et seq., 9 et seq., 73 et seq. 33 C.J.S., Executors and Administrators, § 133 et seq. 34 C.J.S., Executors and Administrators, §§ 172, 219 et seq., 321 et seq., 332 et seq., 396, 397, 398, 401, 664, 659, 667, 677, 679, 690, 702, 766, 770, 773, 828, 903.


- "Descendants" as a word of purchase or of limitation within rule in Shelley's Case, 13 A.L.R. 392.

Decree directing distribution of estate to person who is dead, 25 A.L.R. 1563.

Release to ancestor by heir expectant, 28 A.L.R. 427.

Who entitled to rent on death of landlord, 31 A.L.R. 4.

Does right of grantor to maintain a suit in equity to set aside his conveyance for cause survive to his heir, 33 A.L.R. 51.

Validity and effect of transfer of expectancy by prospective heir, 44 A.L.R. 1465; 121 A.L.R. 450.

Real property in other state, or its value, as a factor in computation of the interest of husband or wife in other's estate, 66 A.L.R. 733.

Remarriage as affecting one's status as a "widow" or "widower" for purposes of statute of descent and distribution or other statute employing such term, 72 A.L.R. 1324.

Inheritable quality of possibility of reverter, 77 A.L.R. 344.

Governing law as to rights of spouse in estate of deceased spouse, 88 A.L.R. 861.

Rights as between surviving spouse and holder of leasehold interest under a lease from deceased spouse in respect of improvements made pursuant to provisions of lease, 92 A.L.R. 1382.

Adopted child as within term "issue" in statute relating to decedents' estates, 98 A.L.R. 190.

Treatment of real property acquired by executor or administrator upon foreclosure or other enforcement of mortgage or other lien against it in favor of decedent, as personal property for purposes of administration, 110 A.L.R. 1397.

Validity and effect of transfer of expectancy by prospective heir, 121 A.L.R. 450.

Time as of which members of class described as testator's "heirs," "next of kin," "relations," etc., to whom a future gift is made are to be ascertained, 127 A.L.R. 602; 169 A.L.R. 207.

Term "heirs" or "heirs at law" employed in will to designate beneficiaries of a single gift of both real and personal property, as applicable to the personal property, 147 A.L.R. 497.

Husband or wife as heir within provision of will or trust, 157 A.L.R. 347; 79 A.L.R.2d 1438.

Respective rights and obligations of testamentary trustee and one whom will permits to occupy property, 172 A.L.R. 1283.

Personal liability of executor or administrator for interest on legacies or distributive shares where payment is delayed, 18 A.L.R.2d 1384.

Death or divorce of blood relative as affecting relationship by affinity for purposes of inheritance, succession, or estate tax, 26 A.L.R.2d 271.

Time of ascertainment of settlor's heirs and distributees who take on failure of the trust, 27 A.L.R.2d 691.

Time within which personal representative must commence action for refund of legacy or distribution, 29 A.L.R.2d 1248.

Accountability of personal representative of his use of decedent's real estate, 31 A.L.R.2d 243.

Validity, construction, and effect of provisions in life or accident policy in relation to military service, 36 A.L.R.2d 1018.

Construction, application, and effect of statutes providing for descent of property of surviving spouse which had been derived from earlier deceased spouse, 49 A.L.R.2d 391.

Statutes dealing with existing intestate administration, upon discovery of will, 65 A.L.R.2d 1201.

Power and responsibility of executor or administrator as to compromise or settlement of action or cause of action for death, 72 A.L.R.2d 285.

Rights as between designated beneficiary and heirs or legatees of deceased employee covered by private pension or retirement plan, 72 A.L.R.2d 924.

Rights in growing, unmatured annual crops as between personal representatives of decedent's estate and heirs or devisees, 92 A.L.R.2d 1373.

Who may exercise voting power of corporate stock pending settlement of estate of deceased owner, 7 A.L.R.3d 629.

To whom does title to burial lot pass on testator's death, in absence of specific provision in his will, 26 A.L.R.3d 1425.

Right of adopted child to inherit from intestate natural grandparent, 60 A.L.R.3d 631.

Oil and gas royalty as real or personal property, 56 A.L.R.4th 539.

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