The answer is no. It is not automatic and surviving spouses can be in a bind if they aren’t prepared.
Ideally, spouses are listed as “joint tenants with right of survivorship” on the vesting deed. If this is the case, then the surviving spouse automatically becomes the owner of the property. This is also true for any co-owners of property in Georgia, not limited to married couples.
If a married couple does not have this listed on the deed, hopefully a will is in place where everything is left to the other. The will would need to be probated after the person’s death, and then a deed would be prepared from the executor of the estate to the surviving spouse.
If there is no survivorship on the deed AND no will, then a surviving spouse could file for a year’s support in probate court within two years of the death in order to get the house.
If none of the above is set in place, then the owners would become ALL of the heirs, including children or anyone else entitled to inherit the home.
Origin Title always ask buyers if they want to be joint tenants with survivorship at closing, which can save thousands of dollars and headaches down the road.