Life is an exciting and precious commodity with a definite manufacture date. Unfortunately, its expiry date remains a closely-guarded secret that its owners can’t access. Thus, it’s prudent for everyone to live ready for that expiry moment and make all necessary preparations after one’s sunset.
Writing a Georgia last will and testament is one way of preparing for this sure eventuality. Any adult with a family should prepare this critical document. The last will and testament form helps you to leave your family in peace after your demise. It ensures that you don’t leave your dependents and inheritors confused about who should inherit what and to what extent. It sets the record straight so that those you leave behind can respect your will over what you labored for. It also saves your family members avoidable conflicts about your estate.
Download your fillable Georgia Last Will and Testament Form in PDF format:
– Adobe PDF
Who Needs a Georgia Last Will and Testament?
Although Georgia laws don’t compel you to write a last will and testament, this document still holds critical legal weight. The reason is that the courts can determine the distribution of the deceased’s estate even if they died without a will. However, the courts’ interventions may not fully reflect and advance the deceased’s wishes regarding their property’s distribution. For instance, the courts only allocate the estate within the deceased’s family network. However, they might have wished to donate a part of or all of their estate to charity. In this case, many would-be beneficiaries lose their deserved inheritance as per the deceased’s wishes.
Inversely, having a last will allows you to appoint an executor you can trust to implement your will entirely and faithfully after your death. Moreover, the will ensures that you leave your underage children’s inheritance in the hands of trusted custodians until they reach legal age.
Moreover, Georgia laws allow you to create trusts to care for your pets while alive. They also let you create trusts that will care for them after your death.
So, what happens to your will’s terms when they come before a probate court? Georgia’s legal procedures require your executor to request this court’s formation. This formation is necessary because it proves the will in a probate court before accepting its terms. Moreover, the formation grants the executor letters to distribute the deceased’s assets as per their wishes.
What Happens if You Die Without a Will?
Although it’s good to have a last will before one’s death, it’s unfortunate that thousands of people still die without them. So, what does Georgia law provide for in such a situation? The state invokes intestacy laws in such cases. In cases where the deceased has no children, their surviving spouses inherit their estate. If they leave behind children and surviving spouses, the two parties share the inheritance equally. Georgian laws require surviving spouses to inherit at least 1/3 of the estate.
What happens if the deceased leaves behind no surviving children and spouse? In this case, the law allows the state to appoint their closest surviving relatives, such as parents, siblings, and grandparents, to inherit the estate. Thus, it’s better to draft a last will to avoid all these cycles because it makes things easier for everyone.
Are There Any Exceptions?
Yes, there are exemptions to Georgia’s last will laws. Therefore, some properties don’t need a Georgia last will to distribute them among heirs. For instance, all properties with joint tenancy ownership and survivorship’s right don’t need a will for distribution. Retirement account funds, life insurance proceeds, and properties transferred to living trusts are also exempted. Moreover, it’s worth noting that surviving spouses and underage kids have a right to a part of one’s property for their upkeep for twenty-four months.
Legal Requirements for Filling a Last Will in Georgia
So, what are Georgia’s legal requirements for a last will and testament? Here are the primary ones that are set in Georgia’s State code (§53-4-10):
- The testator (will writer) should be at least 14 years old and sane;
- The testator should sign the will with their name, a mark, or any other name they intend to verify the will. The law also allows another trusted person to sign the will on the testator’s behalf but under their direction.
- The testator needs competent witnesses to be there in person when the testator signs the document. Witnesses can be beneficiaries, but their portion remains void unless two other witnesses who aren’t beneficiaries are also available.
- The law requires the will to be documented;
- Regarding beneficiaries, you can leave your estate to anyone you wish, within your family or even outsiders.
What About Amendments?
The law lets you amend your last will and testament. You can change it anytime you wish by creating another will or via codicil—addition or amendment whose execution requires the same formalities as a will to be valid.
You can also revoke your last will any time you want. For instance, you can invalidate it by writing another will. You can also revoke it by destroying or obliterating it. Unless your will contained provisions envisioning these events, Georgian laws let you revoke or modify your will if you marry, get a divorce, or adopt a child after executing your will.
There you have all the facts you need to know about a Georgia last will and testament. So far, its benefits are clear, and writing one is no longer a matter of if or whether. Instead, it’s a matter of when you should write it. Use this information to document yours today because your life’s expiry date is a mystery. Download our customizable forms and use them to write your last will and leave your family in peace.
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Other Last Will and Testament Forms By State
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