Estate planning is an essential part of protecting you and your family’s future. A will lets you determine how personal assets will be distributed among your loved ones after you’re gone.
Without a will, it’s up to the courts to determine how to distribute your assets. This leads to unwanted confusion and conflict among family members.
Understanding the execution and witness requirements in Georgia ensures that your will is valid and that all of your wishes are carried out.
Executing Requirements In order for your will to be valid in the state of Georgia, it must meet all legal requirements. The document must be put in writing and signed by the individual who is making out the will (the “testator”), and the will must be signed by at least two witnesses.
Your will doesn’t need to be filed in the state of Georgia in order to be valid, as many states accept wills that have been executed in other states. The only requirement is that the will is still valid under the state in which it was created.
The testator must be no younger than 14 years old, and the will cannot be handwritten.
A will requires two witnesses in addition to the testator. A testator can name another party to sign the will if he or she is physically unable to do so. However, this individual can’t be one of the two witnesses present.
Witness signatures must be made in the presence of the testator in order for the will to be valid, and witnesses must also be at least 14 years of age.
In some cases, a witness may be a beneficiary of the will. This individual can either forfeit any inheritance or give up their role as a witness. It’s recommended that beneficiaries not serve as witnesses to your will.
Witnesses must physically see the testator sign the will. The “line of sight” rule dictates that witnesses must have an unobstructed view of the testator when the signature is made.
Executing and Protecting Your Will
If the requirements of executing a will under Georgia law aren’t met, the will may be deemed invalid. As a result, the estate’s distribution is handed over to the courts.
This emphasizes the importance of properly executing your will so that all of your wishes are carried out. If your will is invalidated for any reason, it can impact your loved ones in the future.
The decisions made by the court may not take into account any preferences that you may have expressed to your family before your death.
Georgia law has many ways in which your will can be accidentally invalidated. If the document is marked, torn, or damaged in any other way, state law considers this as an act of revocation of your will.
Your will should be kept in a safe place. If your will is in your home, place it in a fireproof safe or another container that protects it from physical damage, theft, or loss.
There are containers available that are designed for this purpose. They can be labeled to notify any first responders that your important personal documents are contained inside.
A skilled and experienced attorney provides you with the guidance you need to execute a will that meets all of these requirements and gives you and your family peace of mind.
You’ll learn the best ways to store and protect your will so that it can be accessed when needed and that all personal assets are distributed according to your wishes.