At Peach State Wills & Trusts, we get asked quite frequently about how a will is read in Georgia. As estate planning lawyers, it's our duty to set the record straight. What we have seen in movies and television might not always align with reality.
The Fiction of Will Reading
You've probably seen it countless times on screen - a family gathers in a lawyer's office or in the grand library of the deceased's home. A stern lawyer, dressed in a three-piece suit, dramatically announces, "We will now read the will." Suspense builds as each family member waits for their share to be declared. It's dramatic, it's intense, and it's fictional.
Reality: There's No Official Reading
Contrary to what Hollywood would have you believe, there isn't actually a formal reading of the will. In Georgia, a will isn't read out loud to the family in a dark wood-paneled room. Instead, the will is filed for probate, and someone seeks appointment by the court as the executor.
What Really Happens
The real process involves notifying the beneficiaries and any legal heirs not named in the will. In fact, most of the will's language doesn't even discuss who gets what. The majority of the will's contents detail how the estate will be administered efficiently. It lays out the powers the executor can have and whether he or she might have to file certain reports or inventories and appraisals to the court. The will does spell out where assets go and who gets what, but that's often a much smaller part of the will than the other language outlining procedural matters.
Probating a Will
Once the will has been filed for probate, it goes through a process to be admitted. Occasionally, there might be a challenge to the admission of the will. If the will is admitted, an executor is appointed. The executor then consolidates the assets of the deceased, pays off their debts, and distributes the assets in accordance with the will.
Debunking the Myth of Will Reading
While it's technically possible for a family to hold their own reading of a will, it's unlikely and unnecessary. The notion of a will reading is just for movie and TV drama. It's another example of how legal proceedings are exaggerated for the sake of entertainment.
Contact Peach State Wills & Trusts
Remember, our team at Peach State Wills & Trusts is here to assist you with all of your probate needs or help you with your estate planning. We're more than just lawyers, we're your trusted advisors. Feel free to reach out to us at 678-344-5342 to learn how to plan for your estate in Georgia today. For additional information about estate planning in Georgia, download our free guide here, with no strings attached.