A will is a document which dictates how the properties and assets of a person are to be dispersed after death. The property of the deceased will be distributed according to state laws of intestacy unless a will is provided. Many Georgians make the mistake of writing out how they want their property and assets to be handled and distributed after their death without following the state guidelines which are required for a valid will. (It is important to note that holographic wills are not valid in Georgia). Wills can be simple or complex, depending on the needs of the testator (the one who is declaring their last will and testament), but they must follow the state law in order to avoid intestate distribution of property and assets.
There is a misconception that wills are only for the elderly. Wills can be important for the young as well. A couple may decide that a certain amount of the property should go to the children so that a future spouse would not be able to take money that would otherwise go to the support or education of the children. The couple may decide to set up an education fund. Also, it is important to note that wills can be used to disperse assets in a manner which would minimize estate taxes. Wills should be updated at every major change in life (marriage, the birth of a new child, divorce, or death of a named beneficiary).
Related items of interest are the living will and powers of attorney that help determine who makes decisions about the healthcare or finances of the individual should he or she become incapacitated. To set up a consultation with one of our wills attorneys, call 770-461-2025.