What is a Last Will and Testament


A Georgia Last Will and Testament, when prepared and executed properly by a person who is an adult of sound mind with legal responsibility for his- or herself, is a formal document that specifies how their assets or estate will be managed and distributed after their death. The person who dies is formally referred to as the decedent. If the decedent has minor children, the Last Will and Testament may also be used to designate who they want to care for their children and who they wish to handle their children’s inheritance/finances until each child comes of age (usually 18, but you can designate a different age) to handle their finances on their own.

In a Last Will and Testament, the decedent usually also names a personal representative—or co-personal representatives (two or more persons acting together in this capacity)—to manage the matters of the estate. The personal representative is the person who gathers all of the information about the decedent’s debts and assets, pays outstanding debts using the assets on behalf of the estate, and ensures that the decedent’s property is distributed as specified in the Will, so this is a job with a lot of responsibility, and the personal representative selected is usually someone the decedent really trusts to follow through on the details and with his or her wishes.

If a person dies without having a valid Last Will and Testament (which usually—in most states—means it must be properly witnessed, as well—not just signed), someone will usually be appointed by the court to be the personal representative and will pay the decedent’s debts, liquidizing assets as necessary to do so. Then the remaining assets will be distributed among the decedent’s heirs according to the laws of the state the decedent lived in.

In some states, if one spouse dies leaving behind a husband or wife, that living spouse will inherit all of the decedent’s property in the absence of a Last Will and Testament stating to the contrary. In other cases, the decedent may have specified a particular beneficiary to inherit a life insurance policy, retirement account, or other asset, and that beneficiary designation will dictate who receives those assets in the absence of a Georgia Last Will and Testament.

The important thing to note is that anyone who wishes to designate how their assets will be distributed after their death should prepare and properly execute a Last Will and Testament to ensure their wishes are known and honored. If they don’t, they may be leaving it up to chance, the laws of the state in which they reside at the time of their death, or a court of law as to how their final affairs will be settled.  Georgia free information on last will and testament forms.

Legal Requirements for Last Will in Georgia

The Last Will and Testament is a type of record that is indeed useful for each person on the Earth. The document is imposed to state the distribution of the personal assets of the deceased person, and the main aim of the document is to clarify and claim the last will of oneself. The assets are generally distributed to beloved ones: members of the family, friends and they are referred to as Beneficiaries. In case the document is not written out, the state has the authority to determine the future destiny of all personal assets.

Moreover, in case a deceased one has not written their last will, the beneficiaries would have no ability to dispute over the decision of the court about the estate. Not to mention, the verbally expressed wishes would not be considered as well. That is why it is crucial to know the requirements of the Last Will Form.

Sometimes people mix up the Last Will with Living Will, and the documents are of different types; therefore, the requirements for each form differ as well. It is crucial to review the documents and requirements carefully before starting to complete the Last Will.

The requirements might differ from state to state, but there are also general instructions for each state of the United States. The requirements are as per the following:

  • The record should be typed or printed, and it should not be hand-written;

  • The record should be signed by the person who made the Will. Such a person is called Testator or Testatrix;

  • The document must be signed by two witnesses. The witnesses must observe the will-making process of the Testator or Testatrix and observe each other’s signature making.

The state-specific requirements for Georgia should be acknowledged and revised:

  • In the state of Georgia, the laws regarding the Last Will and Testament can be found in Code of Georgia; Title 53 Wills, Trusts, and Administration of Estates; Chapter 4 Wills; Article 2 Testamentary Capacity, Section 10; and, Article 3 Execution and Attestation, Sections 20 & 22;

  • According to Georgia Code § 53-4-10, anybody who has been condemned of a crime must have the ability to make a Last Will Record;

  • The record can be written by anybody who had reached the age of fourteen and who has not been proclaimed incompetent in a prior legal proceeding. The person should be in ‘sound mind’;

  • As stated in Section 53-4-20, in case the person who is writing a will cannot physically sign the document, some other party might do it (directed by the testator);

  • The document should be notarially verified. According to the law of Georgia, a Will that meets specific requirements is called ‘self proven. The Will that is self-proven may be admitted to probate court without the Witnesses' observation. To make such a ‘self-proved’ Will in Georgia, the Testator or Testatrix and Witnesses should sign a ‘self-proving affidavit.’ This implies that affidavit completion is similar to making a statement in court.



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