What are the requirements for a valid Will in Georgia

What are the basic requirements for a valid Will in the state of Georgia?

Answer:  Under O.C.G.A. 53-4-20, the following are the basic requirements for a valid Will in Georgia:

(a) A will shall be in writing and shall be signed by the testator or by some other individual in the testator’s presence and at the testator’s express direction. A testator may sign by mark or by any name that is intended to authenticate the instrument as the testator’s will.

(b) A will shall be attested and subscribed in the presence of the testator by two or more competent witnesses. A witness to a will may attest by mark. Another individual may not subscribe the name of a witness, even in that witness’s presence and at that witness’s direction.

(c) A codicil shall be executed by the testator and attested and subscribed by witnesses with the same formality as a will.

Although most people get the basic requirments they often use precatory language in their Will such as “I wish or desire” and those wishes or desires do not mandate the executor to carry out those wishes and desires, and thus those clauses are often litigated to find out if they are in fact valid and what were the true intentions of the testator.

Does Georgia accept holographic Wills?  The short answer is NO. A holographic Will is a document in testator handwriting that is purported to be a Will. What it is lacking is that under OCGA 53-4-20 one of the main requirments is that the Will be attested to in the presence of two or more witnesses.

Combining two documents into one document:

Apples and Oranges are two different fruits and apples do not mix with oranges to create an applerange. The same way a deed is a separate document used to transfer property while a person is alive and a Will is used to transfer property when a person passes away. The two documents should never be drafted together as both documents maybe ruled invalid by the court.

A common assumption that most people make is assuming that a power of attorney is still valid when a person passes away that power of attorney is deemed terminated upon the principals death or if the principal revokes the power of attorney in writing executed in a like manner as th original power of attorney.

Source: Justia Law