Understanding Georgia Property Laws and Their Implications


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Georgia Property Laws and Real Estate Laws

From estate planning to business ownership, Georgia property laws can have a wide range of implications. Learn more here with Perigon Legal Services.

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Author: Stan Faulkner, Founder, Perigon Legal Services, LLC

Mr. Faulkner is an experienced counselor and litigator with 15 years of experience, having held bar licenses in four states (Mo, Il, Ct and Ga). Stan Faulkner uses this experience and focuses his skills in the pursuit of assisting individuals in probate (trust and estate) matters, guardianships and conservatorships, estate planning, business disputes and contract disputes. Published on April 14, 2021.

Georgia property and real estate laws affect not only homeowners but landlords and renters as well. Most U.S. states have different protection laws that allow property owners to protect their property and assets from adverse possession or creditors.

Although it may seem that asset protection strategies are just for wealthy people, anyone who is a homeowner or runs their own business can benefit from protecting their assets. By acting early on, before there is a debt or a judgment occurs, an experienced estate planning and business law lawyer can work with you to develop strategies that will shield your hard-earned wealth from danger.

Stan Faulkner, the founding attorney at Perigon Legal Services, possesses over 18 years of experience in business law, real estate, and estate planning matters. He understands that every case is different, and he’s dedicated to helping clients and providing them with exceptional legal advice on asset protection and estate planning, built on years of experience.

Georgia Property Tax Laws and the Tax Advantages of Owning Real Property

Although they cannot own agricultural land, foreigners, as well as Georgian citizens, can buy and own other types of property in Georgia. There are several ways you can own property in the state of Georgia. If there is just one owner of the entire property, that is called Sole Ownership. On the other hand, if two or more people own the property at the same time, that is a form of co-ownership called Tenants in Common. When someone of the Tenants in Common dies, their interest passes to her or his heirs named in the will. In the case of Tenants in Common, the proportionate interests and rights to possess the property don’t have to be equal between co-owners.

If these rights are equal, that form of co-ownership is called Joint Tenancy. In the case of death, the decedent’s interest is passed to the surviving joint tenant or tenants. An individual can also own real property through a Living Trust.

By owning real property, you may also get particular tax advantages, including property tax deduction, capital gains exemption, and mortgage interest deduction. Georgia laws also allow reduced property taxes and tax exemptions if you fulfill certain requirements.

Depending on the complexity of your real property situation, you might want to consider seeking legal help. Stan Faulkner at Perigon Legal Services possesses a deep understanding of Georgia’s real estate laws, so your interests will always be protected to the fullest. Our legal team is dedicated to helping clients understand the laws that can affect your case. Call our office today to schedule an appointment for a free consultation.

Tax Advantages of Owning a Real Property and Georgia Property Tax Laws

Expert Counsel for estate planning

Georgia Private Property Laws: What Is Adverse Possession?

If you are a homeowner, your property is probably among your most valuable assets. It is considered an investment that, in theory, gains in value with each year. Because of that, protecting your property is crucial. In order to do that, you have to keep an eye on your property lines.

Adverse possession, also referred to as “squatters rights law,” gives an individual who occupies a piece of land but is not its owner the right to gain ownership over that land under certain conditions. That individual may be a trespasser, but they could also be your neighbor.

As in the majority of other states, Georgia may establish adverse possession by determining factors such as how long the individual occupied the land and the nature of the possession. According to Georgia’s Code, the statutory period is usually 20 years of continuous possession. In addition, the possession has to be:

  • Actual, meaning the trespasser has control over the possessed property.
  • Hostile – it has to be done without permission and against the right of the actual owner.
  • Open, meaning the trespasser has to use the property without hiding their occupancy.
  • Exclusive – the property has to be in possession of the trespasser alone.

Additional actions that may prevail in favor of courts granting adverse possession can include holding a title/deed that consists of the land in question, paying taxes on the property, as well as the supposed purchase of that land.

That being said, Georgia courts will grant the trespasser’s land claim after seven years of land possession if he or she has some legal documents that can support the land occupation, such as records that taxes are paid or a faulty deed. These documents can prove that they acted in good faith.

However, any property that is held by the local government or the State of Georgia is immune from adverse possession actions.

Georgia Laws on Rental Property

When it comes to rental property, there are certain actions landlords cannot do. Landlords have to comply with specific local, state, as well as federal rules. Failure to comply with landlord-tenant laws in Georgia can lead to harsh financial penalties and costly disputes.

For example, a landlord has to disclose certain information to a tenant or tenants, which can be done in the rental agreement or lease. If the landlord collects a security deposit, he or she has to include pre-existing damage in the rental agreement. Although there is no limit on how much landlords can charge security deposits, property laws state that they have to be returned within one month after tenants move.

Additionally, landlords have to comply with the Fair Housing Act. Failure to do so may result in discrimination lawsuits and complaints.

There are also specific rules regarding eviction and terminating a tenancy and procedures that state how landlords have to handle abandoned property that tenants left behind.

If you are leasing real estate for your business or want to handle a residential lease, your best bet is to look for a real estate lawyer experienced in business law practices and real estate. Real estate attorneys like Stan Faulkner have the experience and knowledge to provide counsel and legal representation in disputes and litigation in these types of cases.

Marital Property Laws in Georgia

When a marriage ends, divorcing spouses have to divide up their assets and property. In divorce proceedings in Georgia, marital property is distributed following an equitable distribution theory. It means that courts divide all marital property acquired during the marriage equally between divorcing parties. 

Marital property includes all earnings during the marriage, assets acquired with these earnings, as well as marital property debts. On the other hand, the non-marital property consists of any assets that either spouse owned before the marriage. Division of property doesn’t actually mean a physical division, but a percentage of the total value of the property awarded by the court to each spouse.

Bear in mind that Georgia laws forbid the transfer of assets during a divorce if they aren’t made during the ordinary course of business. However, if you plan in advance and have an asset protection strategy in place, that can strengthen your position in the event of a future property division battle.

There are often effective and legitimate options that can help shield your assets in many different circumstances through both financial and estate planning. Stan Faulkner, Atlanta asset protection lawyer, and his law firm have extensive experience in keeping their clients protected on multiple fronts. 

Perigon Legal Services can provide advanced strategies for estate plans and the preservation of your assets by working to protect your belongings and property and pass them along to your family and other heirs successfully. Contact us today for a confidential consultation and find out how we can help you.

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