What Is A Self-Proving Affidavit In Georgia?

Self Proving Affidavit Georgia - Georgia Self Proving Affidavit - Self Proving Affidavit Form Georgia

What is a self-proving affidavit in Georgia?

Are Georgia’s self-proving affidavits REALLY going to avoid probate? 

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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Self-Proving Affidavit In Georgia

Under Georgia laws, a self-proving affidavit proves the validity of a will to the probate courts.

Let’s say your will does have not a self-proving affidavit in Georgia.

You have to bring the witnesses in front of the judge.

And they have to testify the testator’s signature is valid.

This can pose problems when the time comes.

A lot of times, the attesting witnesses can’t be found or are no longer alive.

When this happens, the will cannot get proven.

And the estate gets distributed per intestate laws in Georgia.

And not how the testator wanted their estate to get passed down.

What Is A Self-Proving Affidavit?

A Georgia self-proving affidavit is a sworn statement for a last will and testament.

These legal documents attest to the validity of the will.

And it eliminates the need to have the witnesses testify in front of a probate judge.

And it allows the will to get validated without going through the probate process.

This gets accomplished by your attorney creating two self-proving affidavits.

You need a self-proving affidavit for each witness that signed your will.

In Georgia, a will with a self-proving affidavit:

  • 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 Self-Proving Wills Include

A self-proving 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 Self-Proving Affidavit

You should always use a self-proving affidavit for a Georgia will.

Without one, the witnesses have to testify in front of a judge that the testator’s signature is valid.

A lot of times, witnesses cannot be found or they have passed away.

In this case, you cannot prove that the will is valid.

Our law firm’s estate planning lawyers ALWAYS make your will self-proving. 

Fill out the form on this page to:

  • codicil (update) your will to make it self proving
  • get a new will that is self-proving

How Does A Self-Proving Affidavit Work?

A self-proving affidavit is a sworn statement attached to the will.

It gets signed by the testator and the witnesses and gets notarized.

The witnesses have to be in the presence of the testator when they sign.

A self-proving affidavit testifies to the validity of the will in the state of Georgia.

And it speeds up the probate process when settling an estate in Georgia.

Because you don’t have to wait on witnesses to prove the validity of the will.

With self-proving affidavits, you prevent the need for witnesses to testify.

How To Create A Self-Proving Will In Georgia

Creating a self-proving will is the same as a normal will in Georiga.

What’s different is the self-proving affidavit.

Here are the steps to creating a self-proving will in Georgia:

  1. decide what property to include in your self-proving 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. have your estate planning attorney create the self-proving affidavit
  10. store your will in a safe place

Let’s say you wanted a DIY will but you wanted it to be self-proving. 

You will need to:

  • sign your will in front of a notary
  • have the witnesses sign in front of a notary
  • have everyone sign self-proving affidavits in front of a notary

Self-proving affidavits can get used even if you have a:

Georgia Self-Proving Affidavit Requirements

Under Georgia law, for it to be a valid will, a self-proving 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.

Does Georgia Require A Self Proving Affidavit?

No, Georgia does not require a self-proving affidavit. 

You can have a valid will without a self-proving affidavit in Georgia

Having a self-proving affidavit just speeds up the probate process. 

What Happens If A Will Is Not Self Proving?

If a will is not self-proving, then the witnesses have to testify that the will is valid. 

The witnesses will have to show up to probate courts and testify.

This is how to prove that the will is authentic if the will is not self-proving.

Does An Affidavit Need To Be Witnessed?

Yes, affidavits have to get signed in front of a notary public.

Self-proving affidavits need to get signed by the witnesses in front of:

  • a notary public
  • the testator

Do Affidavits Need To Be Notarized In Georgia?

Yes, an affidavit needs to be notarized in Georgia.

If it’s not notarized, it’s an invalid affidavit.

What If You Don’t Sign An Affidavit?

Let’s say you don’t have a self-proving affidavit in Georgia.

The witnesses have to go through interrogatories.

This means they need to provide written interrogatories to the courts.

The interrogatory has to be given in front of anyone who can legally administer oaths.

Usually, these are given in front of the judge in the probate courts.

Invalid Self-Proving Wills In Georgia

Per Georgia code, a 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 will does not need to have a self-proving affidavit to be a valid will under Georgia law.

But, making it self-proving helps the executor prove the validity of the will to the probate courts.

An estate planning attorney can:

  • notarize the simple last will and testament
  • give you a self-proving affidavit

This way, the will is self-proving and you can speed up the probate process.

What Happens If Your Will Is Invalid?

Let’s say you try to file a 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.

That way, the probate courts honor the testator’s request for distributions.

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 will with a self-proving affidavit in Georgia 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
  • update your will with a codicil (amendments)

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 Self-Proving Affidavits 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
  • add in a self-proving affidavit
  • 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 online 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.

How Much Does An Affidavit Cost?

An affidavit costs $2,100, on average. 

Your affidavit will come with your last will and testament. 

Your attorney will charge you about $400 per hour if they create an affidavit separate from your will. 

Get A Self-Proving Affidavit In Georgia

Let’s say you want a reliable, self-proving will and legal advice from a law firm.

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

  • you can make sure your doctors abide by the laws
  • you don’t have to worry about the official capacity of officers
  • 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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