The Power of a Last Will and Testament in Georgia
You are never too young to create a will. And, unless you expect challenges to your will for one reason or another, you may not have to speak to a lawyer. While we hope for the best, hope to live as long as possible to see our kids or just to enjoy life for at least seven decades, life happens. Unexpected things cross our paths every day, and no one is 100 percent sure that things will go as planned. You may pass away in your 20s, 30s or 40s. When it happens, you need to ensure that your loved ones inherit whatever you have in your estate. Even if you don't have much, a will says what you want to do with your stock investments, your business (whether you want it to continue running or not), but most importantly, it prevents wrangles.
A last will and testament refers to the most important element of estate planning. It is the document that lays out your wishes regarding property distribution and the care of your loved ones after your demise. Once created and all the necessary information entered, including signatures, the court can verify and approve the use of the will in asset distribution.
Being a legal document, you, its creator, are referred to as the testator. The names you put down for persons expected to inherit your estate are your heirs or beneficiaries, while the person you appoint to see to it that your wishes are adhered to is the executor.
Often, the persons named as heirs to the estate are children, spouses, friends, and charity organizations. In some cases, pets are on the list of heirs, and it is legally acceptable.
So, which are some of the notable things you can do with a will?
Protect your children
Using a free last will and testament in Georgia, you get to list down the assets and gifts your child inherits after your demise. Even when they are minors, you are sure that they will grow up safety. For this, you may have to ensure that the executor protects or even grows your estate when you are no longer there. Your investments which will most probably grow through the years will ensure that your children do not lack.
And, there's more: you can appoint a guardian for your minor children. While the guardian has to accept that role and the responsibilities it carries, guardianship tends to be easy on your loved ones when you leave your estate to your children. The only catch is that you have to write down some conditions to ensure that the guardian doesn't use the money under their name for their selfish reasons.
To top it all: you can create a testamentary trust for your child using a will. The testamentary trust is irrevocable
Protects your property and business
Haven't we all seen all those families that tear themselves apart to get a piece of property from the deceased, soon after their death? Makes you lose some faith in humanity, doesn't it? Well, since you don't want your businesses and the entire estate to crumble after your demise, you can institute some provisions to protect your business and to promote its continuity. As long as you appoint the right person as the executor, asset distribution will not affect the continuity of your business.
You may also create trusts for asset accumulation and protection.
You can gift a charitable organization
It's widely acceptable to leave some or your entire estate to a charitable organization, the government, or even a society.
Creation of a pet trust
In case you are wondering: It's an actual thing and the law permits it. If you wish to leave your pet under the care of a loved one or an organization, you could set up a pet trust for the care of the pet.
If you fail to prepare a will, the intestacy laws apply, and you are regarded as intestate. What this means is that the state decides what to do with your estate.
In Georgia, failure to leave a will gives the state the right to give a surviving spouse your entire estate if you don't have children. But, if survived by kids and a spouse, they share your estate equally. And, the spouse's share is never less than 1/3 of the estate.
Parents, siblings, aunts/uncles, or grandparents get the estate if you don't have a surviving spouse or children.
In these cases, you do not have any control.
How is your free Georgia last will and testament protected by the law?
Well, before the terms you outline in the will are acclaimed by the court, the probate court has to prove it. In case you are wondering, probate court refers to the court-supervised process followed in the distribution of the assets of a testator. The executor must request the court's appointment as the official executor or the personal representative of the estate. Once appointed or approved, the executor gets the "Letters Testamentary," and then they can begin the asset distribution process as per the provisions of the will.
The validity of the last will and testament
- The testator should be 14 years or older, of sound mind, not acting under duress, and according to code section §53-4-10, et seq., the will must be in writing.
- It must have the testator's signature, and 2 competent witnesses must sign the will too.
- It must include the list of beneficiaries.