There are differences in every state in the process for making a will, though there are similarities. Georgia has its own laws surrounding what makes a will legal and valid. To make an online will in Georgia, you must follow the specific statutes in order for your will to be recognized as valid. You also want to be sure to use an online will that is customized for Georgia.
Can I Make a Will Online in Georgia?
Yes, you can make a will online in Georgia. We recommend the online will making service USLegalWills, which delivers a highest quality online last will and testament.
The main legal requirements for a will to be valid in Georgia are:
- The person making the will (the Testator) must be at least 14 years of age with no legal disabilities that make them not of sound mind.
- The Testator must have “testamentary capacity,” or a decided and rational desire to disburse their property.
- The will must be made freely and voluntarily.
- The will must be signed by at least two witnesses, also at least 14 years of age and of sound mind. The witnesses must see the Testator sign the will, and the Testator must see the witnesses sign the will.
- The witnesses should not be beneficiaries in the will, as the witnesses could lose what was left to them.
After making an online will, you must print it out. Some states allow a digital-only will, which means the will can be made online, signed, and witnessed electronically without making a paper copy. However, the state of Georgia does not allow digital-only wills.
Does Georgia Require a Notarized Will?
No, Georgia does not require a notarized will. When a will is presented in the probate court, it must be validated. Georgia allows for what is called a “self-proving affidavit” to be attached to the will in order to quickly validate it. This is a separate document from your will, and this is what gets notarized (not the will itself). In addition to the affidavit(s), a certificate with the official seal of the notary public must also be attached to the will.
In Georgia, the Testator and the two witnesses must sign a “self-proving affidavit” in front of a notary public for the will to be “self-proved.”
Can I Name an Executor in Georgia?
The executor of an estate is the person chosen to settle the estate and to ensure the will is followed. You can name an executor in an online will in Georgia. It is a good idea to select someone who you know and trust; be sure to discuss it with them before you name them as the executor. If you do not select someone, the probate court will appoint an executor.
In Georgia, an executor can be named in an online will. The executor is the person designated to settle the estate and ensure that the will is followed after the Testator’s death. It is a good idea to name an executor in the will, and choose someone known and trusted. If an executor is not named in the will in Georgia, the probate court will appoint an executor to handle the estate.
Here are the requirements for an executor in Georgia:
- At least 18 years of age, and
- Of sound mind.
Georgia does not have any statutes prohibiting you from naming an executor who has a felony conviction.
To name an executor who lives out-of-state, there are no special requirements in Georgia. It may be more practical to name someone who lives nearby to act as the executor, simply because matters pertaining to settling an estate can take weeks or months.
Do I Need an Attorney to Make a Will in Georgia?
No, you do not need an attorney to make a will in Georgia. But if your estate is complex, it is always wise to consult an estate planning attorney. If your estate is simple and your will is straightforward, online will making is a good option. You want to use an online making service that is customized for Georgia, and you need to make sure to follow the legal requirements for the will to be valid. There are state statutes that you have to meet in order for an online will in Georgia, otherwise the will may not be recognized.
What Types of Wills are Valid in Georgia?
Whether you make a will online or not, any type of will that meets the federal and state-specific requirements is valid in Georgia.
Can I Make a Holographic Will in Georgia?
A holographic will is a handwritten last will and testament—a holographic will is only signed by the Testator, making holographic wills not legally binding in the state of Georgia. If the Testator has two witnesses sign a handwritten will, it may be recognized as valid.
Can I Make a Nuncupative or Video Will in Georgia?
A nuncupative will is an oral will, which some individuals wish to leave oral wills on video. In the state of Georgia, for a will to be considered valid, it must be in writing and signed by two witnesses. This means nuncupative wills are not valid in Georgia.
Pre-1998 Georgia code allowed for nuncupative wills made in times of last illness if proven by oath of at least two witnesses present when made and told to bear witness (and if reduced to writing within 30 days of speaking). However, current Georgia code does not allow for nuncupative wills.
If all heirs agree to the terms left in a nuncupative will, it may be considered. This would be up to the probate court to decide.
How Is a Living Will Different from an Online Will in Georgia?
A last will and testament and a living will are two separate legal documents. A living will, which is now known as Advance Directive for Health Care (ADHC), gives instructions on medical directives and end-of-life care. Whether made online or not, a last will and testament is not the place to leave such instructions. This is because a last will and testament is usually not consulted until after the funeral. You can make both a last will and testament and an ADHC online
To make an ADHC online in Georgia, you can find the form here under Georgia Advance Directive for Health Care. The requirements for it to be valid in Georgia are:
- You must be at least 18 years of age or an emancipated minor and be of sound mind.
- You must sign the form.
- You must have two adult witnesses of sound mind sign the form. Your witnesses do not need to see you sign the form, or see each other sign it, but you must see both of them sign it.
Your witnesses cannot be a licenced health care agent directly involved in your care. Your witnesses cannot be the named health care agent in the form. Your witnesses cannot knowingly be in line to inherit or benefit from your death. Only one of the witnesses can be an employee or on the medical staff of the health care facility where you are receiving your care.
Once you fill out the form and have it signed, you should give it to the executor of your estate or another trusted individual.
Why Do I Need to Make a Will Online in Georgia?
If you have children or own property, it is a good idea to make a will. If you die without a will, then the intestacy laws of Georgia determines what happens. The state will choose someone as guardian of any minor children and will choose the executor of your estate. This can become a lengthy legal process. The estate is divided between surviving family members according to Georgia intestacy distribution laws (found here), and property could be held up in probate court for months at a time.
What Can I Include in an Online Will in Georgia?
When you make an online will in Georgia, you can include the following:
- The executor of your estate.
- A guardian for any minor children.
- A trusted person to oversee any property left to minor children.
- How you want to disburse family heirlooms and sentimental items.
- How you want to disburse personal items.
- Leave property or gifts to family or friends.
- Leave property or gifts to charities or organizations.
What Should Not Be Included in a Will in Georgia?
You should not include medical directives (including end-of-life care) or funeral instructions in your last will and testament. Usually, funeral arrangements are made immediately. If you leave such instructions in your last will and testament, it is likely your family will not know about them until after the funeral.
For medical directives and end-of-life care, you want to create an ADHC (Advance Directive for Health Care). For funeral instructions, you can simply talk with a family member or you can create a separate document that describes your wishes (which you should give to the executor of your estate or any other trusted individual).
Can I Change or Revoke an Online Will Made in Georgia?
Whether you make the will online or not, a valid will is a legally binding document. As long as you are alive, you can change or revoke a will.
In Georgia, the ways to change or revoke a will are:
- With the intent of revoking it, you can destroy the will physically (or direct someone to destroy it for you).
- Writing (and finalizing) a new will that explicitly states it is revoking the old one.
- Writing (and finalizing) a new will that has contradictory terms to the old one.
With any major life change (like marriage or divorce, birth or adoption of a child, acquisition of assets, or relocation to a new state or country), it is a good idea to update your will. It is best to write and finalize a new will when making updates. But if you only want to make minor changes or add small inclusions, you can instead create a codicil. A codicil is an amendment to a will that must be finalized the same way a will is finalized.
How Do I Finalize an Online Will in Georgia?
To finalize and validate an online will in Georgia, take these steps:
- The Testator must sign or acknowledge the will in front of two witnesses, and
- The two witnesses must sign the will in the presence of the Testator.
To make a will self-proving in Georgia, you need a notarized affidavit with the signature of the Testator and the two witnesses.
Be sure to consider these special considerations in Georgia:
- If you and your spouse divorce (or if the marriage is deemed not legal), Georgia law will revoke any language that leaves property to your spouse. If you have concerns about how a divorce might affect your will, you should consult an attorney or make a new will.
- Any assets owned in joint tenancy will automatically pass to the surviving owner.
- You can disinherit an adult child in your will in Georgia. Omission to include them is not enough. If you are planning to disinherit an adult child, you should consult an attorney.
USLegalWills is our recommendation for an online last will and testament. Their pricing is fair and the process of making an online will is easy. You can also create a Living Will. USLegalWills offers a free service to document funeral wishes and save final messages for loved ones.