What is required to make a valid will in Georgia?

Georgia. The law governing Georgia Wills is set forth in Title 53 Wills, Trusts and Administration of Estate.  The requirements for an individual to execute a will in Georgia, O.C.G.A. Title 53, are as follows:

  • you must be at least 14 years of age,  (O.C.G.A. § 53-4-10(a))
  • You must have testamentary capacity
    • This simply means that you must have mental capacity to execute your will.
  • you must have the intent to dispose of your property in the legal document,
    • This requires the testator to have a ‘decided and rational desire regarding the disposition of his property’. (O.C.G.A. § 53-4-11)
  • you must act freely and voluntarily in executing the will (i.e., no one has coerced or threatened you),
  • your will must be in writing,
  • You must sign the will,
    • Note: If the testator is unable to sign the Georgia Last Will & Testament, then another person may sign on his/her behalf. This must be done at express direction and in the presence of the testator. (O.C.G.A.§ 53-4-20(a)).  The person making a Georgia Will must have knowledge of its contents. (O.C.G.A.§ 53-4-2).
  • Your must sign in your presence by at least two competent witnesses who attest to your signature, and
    • Note:  Any person who is competent to be a witness and is at least 14 years old may attest a Georgia Last Will. (O.C.G.A.§ 53-4-22).
    • Note:  Do not use any beneficiary or a spouse of any beneficiary as a witness. This may affect that witness’s credibility in court and may therefore affect probate of the Will. (O.C.G.A.§ 53-4-23).
  • Your signature must be notarized by a Georgia notary public.
Jason Mance Gordon
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