The Hive Law - Estate Planning - Wills - Trusts

Does A Will Have To Be Notarized In Georgia?

Does A Will Have To Be Notarized In Georgia - Georgia Will Requirements

Does a will have to be notarized in Georgia to be valid?

People commonly mess up creating wills when estate planning.

They end up not being valid wills under Georgia laws.

And the estate goes through intestate in Georgia.

Meaning you lose control of the assets.

And the probate courts decide who gets what.

In this article, you’ll learn:

  • what makes a legally binding will
  • if a will has to get notarized to be legal
  • how many witnesses do you need to sign a will
  • whether a notary can be a witness
  • what happens if a will is not notarized
  • how to keep minor children from going into foster care

Let’s dig in.

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Does A Will Have To Be Notarized In Georgia?

No, a will does not have to be notarized in Georgia to be a valid will.

But, getting your Georgia will notarized can speed up the probate process.

Without a notarized will, the probate courts have to “prove the will.”

This means they will make the witnesses show up and testify in court.

This proves difficult if the witnesses have moved away or died.

This is why a notarized, self-proving will in Georgia is very important.

Your beneficiaries won’t have to prove that the will is valid.

Fill out the form on this page to get a self-proving will made.

What Makes A Will Legal In Georgia?

There are several requirements that make a will legal in Georgia.

Georgia’s will requirements are:

  • the testator is 14+ years of age
  • the testator is of sound mind
  • you have a handwritten will (not verbal, audio recording, videos, etc.)
  • the testator signs the will
  • two competent witnesses sign the will

FAQs For Having A Will Notarized In Georgia

Clients ask some common questions for a Georgia last will and testament.

Is A Will Valid If It's Not Notarized?

In Georgia, a will is still valid even if it’s not notarized.

A will does not have to be notarized in Georgia to be a valid will.

How Many Witnesses Are Required For A Will?

Per Georgia code, you need two witnesses to have a valid will.

These witnesses HAVE to:

  • be in the presence of the testator signing the will
  • be competent and of sound mind
  • be at least 14 years of age

Rules For Minor Children And Wills

There are some rules for minor children, such as they have to be:

  • 14 years of age or older
  • not legally disabled
  • have proper mental capacity (per a physician’s evaluation)
  • not have want of perfect liberty of action

Do You Need Two Witnesses For A Will in Georgia?

Yes, you need two witnesses for a will in Georgia.

If you don’t have two witnesses for a Georgia will, then it’s not a valid will.

This means that one witness or zero witnesses will not cut it.

Both witnesses will need to be present to see the testator sign the will.

This is common with holographic wills that are not signed by witnesses.

These types of wills are not valid in Georgia.

Our law firm will provide two witnesses so you don’t have to worry about this.

Is A Will Valid With Only One Witness?

No, a will is not valid with only one witness under Georgia law.

A handwritten will has to get signed by two witnesses to be valid in Georgia.

Does A Will Have To Be Dated To Be Valid?

All Georgia wills need to have a signature and a date to be valid wills.

This will also help keeps this straight throughout the years.

Let’s say you create a codicil to a will.

(This means that you make updates to your will.)

If you aren’t dating them, these legal documents can conflict with each other.

Adding dates to your will shows the probate courts which ones are the latest wills.

Can A Notary Be A Witness To A Will?

No, a notary cannot be a witness to a will in Georgia.

A notary public is normally going to be the estate planning attorney.

The one who creates the last will and testament for you.

A notary has to witness the witness signing the will.

A notary cannot witness themselves signing a document.

They can only witness another person’s actions under Georgia law.

Each person involved has to play independent a role.

Can You Notarize For A Family Member In Georgia?

Under Georgia law, you can notarize for a family member.

But, the Georgia probate courts can throw out the will altogether if you do.

They can see this as a conflict of interest in the State of Georgia.

Especially if the notary stands to have financial gain from the will.

If the probate courts invalidate the will, the estate goes through intestate.

While it’s legal to notarize a will for a family member, we don’t recommend it.

Your loved ones could lose the personal property and real estate you’re passing to them.

What Happens If A Will Is Not Notarized?

If a will is not notarized in Georgia, it’s still a valid will.

But, if a will is not notarized, then the beneficiaries have to “prove the will.”

Meaning that the Georgia probate courts will call the witnesses.

And they will need to testify about the will’s validity.

Let‘s say that the will cannot get proven because:

  • the witnesses have moved or passed away
  • the will is not valid for other reasons

Then the estate gets split up per the intestacy laws.

Notarizing A Will With Minor Children In Georgia

Let’s say you:

  • have minor children
  • have a will that can’t get proven
  • your estate goes through intestacy laws

You may have appointed a guardian to take care of your children.

The Georgia probate courts choose what happens to your children without a valid will.

This means that your children could end up:

  • with the wrong family members
  • not with their godparents that you designated
  • in the foster care system

How To Set Up A Georgia Last Will And Testament

Our estate planning attorneys will set up a self-proving will for you.

This means we will:

  • have the testator sign in front of us
  • have the witnesses sign in front of us
  • notarize the will for you
  • create a self-proving affidavit

This self-proving affidavit will prove:

This means that your family won’t have to prove the will is valid in probate court.

Because we make your living will self-proving per Georgia’s state laws.

This makes:

  • passing personal property to your beneficiaries simpler
  • sure your personal property gets distributed how you want it to be
  • it less likely beneficiaries or creditors can contest the will

Our estate planning law firm is based in Atlanta.

But we create last will and testaments all over Georgia.

We also set up your power of attorney in Georgia.

That way, you have a personal representative in case you become incapacitated.

For things like making healthcare and financial decisions on your behalf.

We include this in all the new will packages for our clients.

You don’t have to pay any extra for them.

Fill out the form below to get your Georgia last will and testament made.

Get A FREE Consultation!
We run out of free consultations every month. Sign up to make sure you get your free consultation. (Free $350 value.)
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