Georgia residents may know that a will has to be signed to be considered valid. In most cases, it must have the signatures of two witnesses as well as the person who created it. It is often a good idea to have the testator sign the will at the same time as the witnesses to that document. However, as long as the witnesses know that the will is valid, they can sign it at another time.
If an individual has a holographic will, it means that the will has been written out by hand. As long as the entire document has been handwritten, signed and dated, it is legal without any witnesses. However, a handwritten will is much easier to challenge compared to one that has been typed and signed by others. To save time, it may be a good idea to have witnesses to a will sign an self-proving affidavit.
This means that those individuals won’t have to verify the validity of the will in probate court. While a witness can generally be anyone who is deemed competent, those who stand to inherit from an estate generally cannot serve in such a capacity. The same is true of any lawyer who helps to create a will.
The use of wills and trusts may make it easier for an individual to create an ideal estate plan. A will may allow people to have greater control over where their assets go after death, as in the absence of a valid will, state intestacy laws will govern. In many cases, this could result in the distribution of assets to recipients that the decedent did not want to have as beneficiaries.