Simple Wills In Georgia: How To Make It Legal

Simple Wills In Georgia

Are simple wills in Georgia even legal?

Can you use them to:

  • avoid the probate process
  • pass down your inheritance to beneficiaries
  • appoint an executor of a Georgia estate
  • create a legal document for your estate

We will dig into all of this.

Let’s dig in.

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Simple Will In Georgia

You’re probably thinking about a simple will like this.

You take out a sheet of paper and write everything on it.

You essentially create a DIY will.

Is a handwritten will a valid will in the state of Georgia?

At this point, this is not a valid will.

It does not meet the will requirements under Georgia state law. 

What is a Simple Will?

A simple will is a legal document that states who will inherit your belongings when you pass.

It’s also referred to as a Georgia last will and testament.

In Georgia, a simple will:

  • identifies the testator
  • confirms the testator is of sound mind
  • names the beneficiaries of the estate
  • lists the assets that they will inherit
  • appoints the executor for estate administration
  • contains the testator’s full legal name and signature
  • contains two signatures from competent witnesses

What To Include

A simple will should include everything in your estate, including things like:

  • real estate (primary residence and investment real estate)
  • property (vehicles, antiques, family heirlooms, etc.)
  • who would be the guardian of minor children
  • bank accounts
  • what happens to your pets

When Not To Use A Simple Will

You should only use simple wills in Georgia if your estate is simple.

Meaning that you don’t:

  • have a business that you need to pass down or dissolve
  • have children with multiple people
  • have partnerships on investments
  • need a trust for holding assets from the estate
  • have assets in multiple states
  • have stepchildren
  • have been divorced and remarried

This is not an all-inclusive list.

But things like this require an estate planning lawyer to make your will.

How To Create A Simple Will In Georgia

Here are the steps to creating a simple will in Georgia:

  1. decide what property to include in your simple will
  2. determine who will inherit what from your estate
  3. choose an executor to manage creditors, debts, and assets
  4. choose a guardian if you have minor children
  5. choose someone to manage your children’s property (trusts work great)
  6. get a last will and testament template (online or from an estate planning lawyer)
  7. create your simple will
  8. sign your last will and testament form in front of competent witnesses
  9. store your will in a safe place

Georgia Simple Will Requirements

Under Georgia law, for it to be a valid will, a simple will in Georgia needs to:

  • have a testator that’s 14+ years of age and of sound mind
  • be typed up or written out (either is fine)
  • NOT be an audio or video recording
  • get witnessed by two competent witnesses, 14+ years of age
  • signed by the testator under their full legal name
  • get signed by those witnesses

Let’s talk about if you DON’T meet the will requirements in Georgia.

Invalid Simple Wills In Georgia

Per Georgia code, a simple will is a holographic will in Georgia if it doesn’t:

  • get witnessed by two people
  • get signed by two competent witnesses (using their full legal names)

A simple will does not need to get notarized to be a valid will under Georgia law.

But, it helps the executor prove the validity of the will to the probate courts.

An estate planning attorney can:

What Happens If Your Simple Will Is Invalid?

Let’s say you try to file a simple will in Georgia that’s not valid.

In this case, you won’t be able to prove the validity of the will to the probate courts.

And the probate courts won’t honor your wishes with this holographic will.

They will distribute your estate per the intestacy state laws in Georgia.

In this case, this means that:

  • your spouse and kids split the estate equally per individual
  • your spouse (with no kids) gets everything
  • your kids (with no spouse) get everything

If intestacy is what you DON’T want, you will need to create a new will.

Make Your Own Will Valid In Georgia

With a valid will, your estate gets passed down exactly how you want it to.

You can’t “avoid probate” with any will in Georgia.

You can only avoid probate by setting up trusts.

But a valid, simple will allows you to:

  • appoint an executor (personal representative) of your estate
  • distribute your estate how you see fit
  • exclude people from your inheritance if desired
  • change the allocations of how things get distributed
  • choose an advance directive for your healthcare needs

For example, people pass away and leave behind their surviving spouses.

Intestacy laws in Georgia would make your surviving spouse split the estate with the kids.

You may want to give your spouse the entire estate (including real estate).

And then let them pass the remaining estate to the kids once they pass.

That way, they aren’t left with minimal assets after you pass.

Note that you could do everything right and still not have a valid will.

If the testamentary capacity is in question, their own will can become invalid.

An estate planning attorney makes sure you meet all the proper requirements.

Estate Planning With Simple Wills In Georgia

We’ve talked about a lot of things for estate planning with this legal document.

Let’s talk about the best way to set things up with your last will and testament.

  • make it a living will (to determine your end-of-life healthcare)
  • appoint guardianship for your minor children
  • make your will self-proving with an affidavit
  • get a notary public for your will to make it easier to prove
  • set up the appropriate power of attorneys
  • set up living trusts to pass down real estate and personal property

There are other things to consider for your family members, too.

You need to choose the appropriate loved ones as beneficiaries of things like:

  • retirement plans
  • life insurance policies
  • bank accounts
  • investment accounts

Your Georgia will can address these accounts for probate.

But, appointing beneficiaries means that you can avoid probate with these accounts.

This way, a testator can pass down property to beneficiaries immediately.

Get A Simple Will In Georgia

Let’s say you want a reliable, attorney-created simple will template and legal advice.

Our experienced, Atlanta estate planning attorneys will create your living will, which means:

  • you can make sure your doctors abide by the laws
  • you have confidence you have the correct living will set up
  • you don’t have to hire a notary to show up to the signing
  • you don’t have to find witnesses to show up at the signing
  • you get FREE revisions for 30 days

Fill out the form below and we will reach out and get the ball rolling.

Talk soon.

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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