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What are the requirements for a will in Georgia?

On Behalf of | Jun 10, 2024 | Estate Planning |

Creating a will allows an individual to name someone to care for their children and can help them to establish a legacy after they die by ensuring that their property passes to specific people.

Creating a will may seem easier than ever thanks to access to the internet. Unfortunately, some people fall victim to the mistaken belief that they can simply draft a document on their own computers and rely on that to guide estate administration after they die.

Technically, wills in Georgia need to meet certain specific standards if they are to serve their purpose in probate court later. What are the requirements of a will created by a testator living in Georgia?

An understanding of the document’s contents

For a will to be a valid legal instrument, the person drafting the document has to understand what terms it includes. Someone whose cognitive function has declined due to age or medical challenges may not be capable of drafting a will. Maintaining testamentary capacity requires that someone understand what assets they own, the beneficiaries whom they intend to leave assets for and the impact those documents may have on their beneficiaries.

Two witnesses

A testator needs to sign their will themselves or have someone sign it on their behalf if they have become physically incapable of doing so. They must then affirm the validity of the document and the signatures on it to two witnesses. Witnesses can either be present at the time of the document signing or can sign after hearing a direct statement by the testator about the contents of the document and their estate planning intentions. Witnesses should both be at least 14 years of age, and they should not have any interest in the estate to prevent conflicts of interest that could compromise the trustworthiness of their testimony later. Having a notary sign and stamp the document is not necessary for a valid will.

Learning about what constitutes a valid will in Georgia can help people understand why having a lawyer present to assist them can be important to proper estate planning. Thoughtful guidance can help to ensure that the documents someone creates serve their purpose after they die.