Question: I've got some questions about getting a Last Will and Testament. I need a will and so does my grandfather. My dad died without a will and we had all sorts of problems with getting our money and property. Dad was a wonderful man and he had a bunch of properties and some really nice and expensive collectibles, like a gun collection and some muscle cars, but since he didn't have a will it took us a long time to get them.
So I don't want to have to deal with all those problems and neither does my granddad and that's why I'm writing to make sure that our wills are done correctly so we don't have legal issues that our family has to deal with.
My grandfather is in good shape for his age. He's 95 years old and he's always fishing and hunting and boating. He's in good condition, like I said, but at 95 years old, I think he really should get a will drawn-up. He even asked me if I'd help him find a local estate planning lawyer.
He's held a number of jobs in his life, and he's accumulated some nice properties in North Georgia which I think have some value; they may be very valuable. From the 1960's until today he's been buying real estate when he could. He bought most of his properties real cheap, when land wasn't nearly expensive as today. He bought land in Alpharetta at $100 an acre back in the day.
As for me, I'm married and have three kids. Two of my children are under 10 years old so I want to make preparations in my will for them if my wife and I both die. I want the kids to be well taken care of. That's why I'm writing to a Georgia will lawyer.
I don't want to risk making a will myself. I've heard plenty of horror stories about these do-it-yourself wills and the trouble they can cause. I've heard most of the time they have errors that can make the will invalid and void under Georgia law.
I'd like to know about what makes a will valid here in Georgia.
D.H. in Roswell, GA
Answer: A reason many people get a will is to make sure that young children are properly taken care of. That's why when kids are involved we help people select an appropriate guardian and trustee. The guardian helps make many of the daily decisions in a child's life, and the trustee oversees the kid's finances. The guardian and trustee should both work together to achieve the maximum benefits for the child.
Since a will can be considered invalid by a court, it's crucial that the will be drafted in accordance with Georgia law. To be valid under the law, the last will and testament must have three features:
- A will must be in writing
- A will must be signed
- A will must have two witnesses
If any of these three criteria are not met, the will fails under Georgia law and is invalid.