Are you trying to figure out how to make a last will and testament in Georgia?
Or if you even need one?
We’re going to cover everything related to how a last will and testament is used for:
- telling survivors who you want to receive your assets
- naming a guardian for your children
- handling your children’s inheritance until they come of age
- naming who should handle your estate through probate
- transferring your probate assets
Let’s dig right into it.
Table of Contents
- What Is A Last Will And Testament?
- Simple Ways For How A Will Works
- What Happens If I Die Without A Will?
- The Requirements For A Will You Need To Know
- [Important] How To Revoke My Will?
- How To Make A Will
- How To Get A Reliable Will
What Is A Last Will And Testament Georgia?
A last will and testament Georgia is a legal document that explains how to handle your estate.
It lays out when and how your beneficiaries will inherit your property and assets.
It should name the executor of the estate.
Your executor is also going to be called the personal representative of your estate.
This person is in charge of:
- settling your final affairs
- guiding your estate through the probate process
Your last will and testament in Georgia will guide your estate through things like what to do with:
- your possessions
- custody of your dependents
- management of your accounts
Last Will And Testament Definition
The last will and testament definition is:
A document in which a person specifies the method to be applied in the management and distribution of his estate after his death.The Free Dictionary
A last will and testament in Georgia allows you to make decisions about your estate’s distribution after your death.
Originally, “testament” referred to distributing personal property.
And a “will” referred to distributing real estate.
A last will and testament disposes of both real property and personal property.
A last will and testament is commonly referred to as a “will.”
Simple Way For How A Last Will and Testament Works
You’re probably wondering what all you can do with a last will and testament in Georgia.
Let’s talk about how a Georgia will works.
A will allows you to:
- Distribute your assets as you wish. Without a will, intestacy laws will determine how your estate gets broken up for you.
- Appoint and outline executor powers. This makes sure that your wishes get honored.
- Appoints a guardian for minor children. Without a will, the state may send your children into the foster care system.
- Specify funeral wishes. Some people have specific funeral wishes. Sometimes they are religious traditions that they want to happen. Your will makes sure this gets handled properly.
- Expedites the probate process. Without a will, your estate will get caught up in probate. It can take 12+ months for an estate to get through probate. And it never gets distributed as you would like.
- Names a conservator. This person can manage the assets and cash you are passing down to minor children as you direct them to.
With your will, we include a durable power of attorney and a health care directive.
This ensures that, if you become incapacitated, things are handled how you wish.
What Happens If I Die Without A Last Will And Testament Georgia?
When you die without a last will and testament in Georgia, you are dying “intestate.”
This means that the government becomes the executor of your estate.
The state decides how to distribute your property and who to pay first.
They don’t take into consideration any prior, verbal arrangements the family had with each other.
State intestacy laws will determine who gets your property in probate.
The intestate laws of succession will divide your assets up for you.
Let’s say that you have 50% of the marital property you own with your spouse.
If you pass, the 50% that you own goes into probate.
The intestacy laws will split up your 50% marital property and give:
- 50% to your spouse
- 50% to your children
That means that your spouse ends up with 75% of the marital property.
And your kids end up with 25% of it.
- your children may go into the foster care system
- your children may not inherit your assets
- you may not have the funeral or burial services you desire
- paying higher taxes
The Requirements For A Last Will And Testament Georgia You Need To Know
There are 5 requirements for every last will and testament in Georgia.
- the testator needs to be at least 14 years old
- the testator is competent enough to create a will
- the will is written out
- the will is signed by the testator
- two witnesses must sign the will
Last Will And Testament Laws You Need To Know About
The following is a list of the laws that you need to know about to make a last will and testament in Georgia valid.
1. Testator Must Be 14+ Years Old
This one is pretty self explanatory.
But you have to be at least 14 years old to create last will and testament in Georgia.
2. Testator Must Be Competent
The testator creating a last will and testament in Georgia must be of sound mind.
This means that they are sane or rational at the time of creating the will.
An estate planning lawyer will ask a series of questions to the testator to verify that they are of sound mind.
They want to make sure that they understand the:
- nature of the last will and testament
- significance of the contract
- consequences of the will
If the testator’s competency is in question, you should seek a medical opinion.
When a person’s competency is in question, a doctor’s examination can be the determining factor.
A doctor can determine if someone is mentally incapable of making sound decisions.
The laws want to make sure that the testator is freely and voluntarily signing the last will and testament.
3. The Will Must Be Written Out
A last will and testament in Georgia must be handwritten or typed out.
Georgia wills that are recorded by audio or video are not valid last will and testaments in Georgia.
4. The Testator Must Sign The Will
For a last will and testament in Georgia, the testator must sign the will for it to be valid.
If the testator is physically unable to sign the last will and testament, they can ask someone to sign on their behalf.
If someone signs on their behalf, it has to be:
- in the testator’s presence
- at the testators express direction
5. Two Witnesses Must Sign The Will
A last will and testament in Georgia must have two witnesses that sign the will.
The witnesses must:
- be competent people
- be at least 14 years old
- sign the will in the presence of the testator
If a will is not signed by two witnesses, it is not a valid last will and testament in Georgia.
If the will is not signed by two witnesses, then it is a holographic will.
And holographic wills are not valid in Georgia.
Does A Last Will And Testament Georgia Need To Be Notarized?
A last will and testament in Georgia is not required to be notarized.
But having your last will and testament notarized will speed up the probate process.
When your will goes through the probate process, the judge wants to verify your will.
They will call on the witnesses to validate their signatures.
If the witnesses are unable to be found, then it’s easier for someone to contest the will.
Having your will notarized verifies the witnesses and makes it harder to contest during probate.
We automatically notarize your Georgia will so that you don’t have to worry about this.
Do I Need To Name An Executor Now?
When you create your last will and testament in Georgia, you want to name your executor.
It’s even a good idea to name a second executor in the event that something happens to the first.
But a last will and testament in Georgia do not HAVE to name an executor.
But you have to provide a reasonable description of who should be an executor.
Some examples of reasonable descriptions are:
- “my oldest surviving child”
- “my oldest surviving sibling”
If you do not appoint an executor, then the courts will appoint one for you during probate.
[Important] How To Revoke My Last Will And Testament Georgia?
How do you revoke a last will and testament in Georgia if you decide you want to change it?
Revoking a last will and testament means that you permanently or partially destroy the will.
After you destroy your will, the will becomes void.
After revoking a last will and testament, you will need to rewrite and execute a new will.
There are a couple of ways to destroy a will:
- create a new will that states the previous ones are voided
- burning or shredding the current last will and testament
Even if the will gets destroyed by accident, it is still void.
How To Make A Last Will And Testament Georgia
Let’s talk about how to create a last will and testament in Georgia.
- pick an executor
- name your beneficiaries
- make a list of your distributable property
- name a guardian of your children and pets
- having your attorney execute the will
- store your will in a safe, reliable place
Creating a last will and testament in Georgia is fairly easy.
Setting it up properly to distribute everything correctly is the potentially tricky part.
You want to make sure that the probate judge has no reason to question the contents of your will.
When we build your will, we make sure the judge has no reason to question it.
How To Get A Reliable Will
You want to make sure that your family is set up.
You don’t want your kids going into the foster system if something happens to you.
You don’t want the state to decide how to distribute your estate.
You don’t want your heirs to lose half of their inheritance to unnecessary taxes.
You don’t want family members who are disowned to get your assets.
You don’t want your estate to get stuck in probate for 12+ months.
Fill out the form below.
We will set your will up for you correctly so you don’t have to worry about ANY of this.