Making a valid will in Georgia

The technicalities of making a will can seem fairly simple, yet many people slip up on them, often because they underestimate the importance of getting every detail right. When you put thought and care into the disposition of your assets, the last thing you want is for a court to find the will invalid and distribute your estate according to intestacy laws.

The best way to ensure you leave a valid disposition of your wishes is to consult a Georgia estate planning attorney. This can help you comply with legal requirements and learn about alternatives or additions to a will that can make your plans more effective.

Writing and signing

Unlike some other states, Georgia does not recognize a holographic will, which is completely handwritten and does not need witnesses. Nor does it recognize oral wills. In Georgia, the testator must sign the will in the presence of two valid witnesses, who must also sign the document.

Having a representative sign for you

Sometimes, a person may be physically unable to sign the will. In such a case, he or she can appoint another person to do so on his or her behalf. This person may not count as a witness to the will.

Witnesses

Beneficiaries of a will should also not witness it. While such a witness may be valid under certain circumstances, the chances of this invalidating the will make it better to get witnesses who do not benefit under the will. In either case, such a witness signature will likely lead to extensive and costly litigation and is therefore not a good idea.

Line of sight requirement

The witnesses must see the testator sign the document. They must then also sign in front of the testator. In Georgia, this means the witnesses must have a direct line of sight as they observe the signing. Problematic situations that may give rise to litigation can include witnessing using two-way video communication. To avoid issues, it is best to have the witnesses and the testator together in the same room where they can all see one another.

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