Contact Us Today 678-344-5342


What Should be Included in a Will in Georgia?

Posted by Joel Beck | Feb 16, 2024 | 0 Comments

Navigating the complexities of estate planning can be daunting, but it's a crucial step in securing the future for your loved ones. As estate planning lawyers at Peach State Wills & Trusts, we understand the importance of crafting a comprehensive will that reflects your wishes and protects your assets. Read below to explore the essential elements that should be included in a will specifically tailored to Georgia residents, ensuring clarity and peace of mind for you and your family.

Key Components of a Will

When drafting a will in Georgia, several key components should be included to ensure that your wishes are carried out effectively. Here's a breakdown of what you should consider including:

  • Executor Appointment: Designate an executor who will be responsible for managing your estate and ensuring that your wishes are carried out. Choose someone trustworthy, organized, and capable of handling the responsibilities associated with this role. And, choose a backup in case your first choice cannot serve.
  • Asset Inventory: Before preparing a will, you should compile a comprehensive list of your assets, including real estate, financial accounts, personal belongings, and investments. Then, with your estate planning attorney, you discuss how you want your assets distributed, and determine what specific assets to mention in the will as a specific distribution, and what assets might be distributed through the will's residuary clause.
  • Beneficiary Designations: Clearly identify who will inherit your assets upon your passing. Specify what assets each beneficiary will receive to avoid confusion or disputes. 
  • Residuary Clause: A residuary clause provides instructions for where to distribute any assets that were not specifically otherwise distributed in other parts of your will. In some very simple situations, all of a person's assets might be distributed through the residuary clause.
  • Guardianship Provisions: If you have minor children, designate a guardian who will assume responsibility for their care in the event of your passing. Consider factors such as the guardian's relationship with your children, their values, and their ability to provide a stable environment.
  • Special Instructions: Include any specific wishes or instructions that you have regarding your estate, such as funeral arrangements or charitable donations. Clearly outline your preferences to ensure that they are honored after your passing.

Practical Considerations for Will Preparation

Preparing a will can seem overwhelming, but with careful planning and guidance, you can ensure that your wishes are accurately reflected. Here are some practical considerations to keep in mind:

  • Seek Professional Assistance: Consult with an experienced estate planning lawyer who can provide personalized guidance based on your unique circumstances. A legal professional can help you navigate the complexities of estate planning laws in Georgia and ensure that you will comply with all legal requirements.
  • Review and Update Regularly: Review your will periodically to ensure that it reflects any changes in your personal circumstances or wishes. Life events such as marriage, divorce, births, or deaths may necessitate updates to your will to ensure its accuracy and relevance. Remember, estate planning is a process and not a singular event.
  • Communicate with Loved Ones: Discuss your estate planning wishes with your loved ones to ensure that they understand your intentions and are prepared for their roles. Open communication can help prevent misunderstandings or conflicts among family members during the estate administration process.

By incorporating these essential elements into your will and taking practical steps to ensure its accuracy, you can gain peace of mind knowing that your wishes will be carried out effectively.

What Makes a Will Valid in Georgia

Ensuring the validity of your will is crucial to safeguarding your intentions and preventing legal challenges. Here's what you need to know about making a will legally enforceable in Georgia:

  • Testamentary Capacity: To create a valid will in Georgia, you must have testamentary capacity, meaning you must be of sound mind and able to understand what you are doing, and be at least 14 years old. It's essential to draft your will when you are of sound mind and free from undue influence to ensure that your intentions are accurately reflected.
  • Formal Requirements: Georgia law requires certain formalities to be observed when executing a will, including signing the document in the presence of at least two witnesses. The witnesses must also sign the will in your presence and in the presence of each other to validate its authenticity. The witnesses should not be named in the will as a fiduciary or as a beneficiary.  And, adding a proper self-proving affidavit, that is executed by you and the two witnesses before a notary, makes the admission of the will to probate much easier following your death. 

By understanding the importance of having a will and the requirements for validity in Georgia, you can take proactive steps to protect your assets and ensure that your wishes are honored.

Keeping Your Will Safe

Keeping your will safe is paramount to ensure that your wishes are honored and your estate is managed according to your instructions. Here are some essential steps to safeguard your will in Georgia:

  • Store in a Secure Location: Choose a secure location to store your original will, such as a fireproof safe or store it with the probate court for safekeeping. Ensure that the location is both known accessible to your designated executor or trusted family member in the event of your passing.
  • Inform Trusted Individuals: Inform your executor, trusted family members, or close friends about the location of your will and how to access it when needed. Provide clear instructions on who should be notified in the event of your passing and where they can find the original document.
  • Update Regularly: Review your will periodically to ensure that it accurately reflects your current wishes and circumstances. Update your will as needed in response to major life events, such as marriage, divorce, births, or deaths, to maintain its relevance and effectiveness, and also update your plan as needed in light of any changes in the law.

By taking proactive measures to keep your will safe and accessible, you can ensure that your wishes are honored and your estate is managed according to your instructions. Remember to communicate with trusted individuals about the location of your will and update it regularly to reflect any changes in your circumstances.

Contact the Georgia Estate Planning Attorneys at Peach State Wills & Trusts

Crafting a comprehensive will requires careful consideration and knowledgeable guidance. At Peach State Wills & Trusts, we are well-versed in providing friendly and professional estate planning services to clients throughout Georgia. Our experienced team of estate planning lawyers can help you navigate the complexities of will preparation, ensuring that your wishes are accurately reflected and legally enforceable.

Contact Peach State Wills & Trusts at 678-344-5342 or online to learn how to plan for your estate in Georgia today. If you have any questions about estate planning in Georgia, you can download our free guide here, no strings attached. We're here to provide the support and guidance you need to protect your assets and secure your family's future.

About the Author

Joel Beck

Joel Beck founded The Beck Law Firm, LLC in 2007. His firm focused on business law and estate planning needs of clients, two areas that he was drawn to based upon personal and business experiences in his life, including a ten-year career at NASD (now known as FINRA).


There are no comments for this post. Be the first and Add your Comment below.

Leave a Comment

Contact Us Today

At Peach State Wills and Trusts, a division of The Beck Law Firm, LLC, we're committed to answering your questions about wills, trusts, powers of attorney, healthcare directives, uncontested probate, and business planning issues in Georgia.

Contact us today to schedule an appointment.