Georgia’s state laws make it clear that a will or estate plan needs to be legally executed by the person who owns the related assets and estate. However, like many other states, the legal tools involved are only valid to the extent that the owner has what is known as “capacity” to commit to the will or plan. In Georgia, capacity of a parent or anyone requires that:
- The person involved must be at least 14 years of age.
- The person must know exactly what property is being provided in the legal instrument and that the assets are to be transferred to someone else when the document takes effect.
- The person needs to know who the beneficiaries will be specifically.
- Finally, the signer must be aware of the details of the will or legal estate plan document in totality, not just a summary concept.
All of the above is in addition to the usual Georgia requirements that the legal document has to be in writing and not signed under any kind of coercion or duress. And a key aspect of ensuring that capacity is in place as well as that the general requirements are met is the use of witnesses. The people chosen as witnesses understand that by taking on the role they can be called into court to testify on the matter if the legal document is subsequently challenged. They also are barred by law from receiving any benefit from the will or document, so being a witness really is a selfless act of confirming validity.
We work with clients to ensure their estate plans are in place and that they meet the requirements in Georgia. If you would like additional information regarding this process, please feel free to contact Grissom Law, LLC at 678-781-9230. We work with people of all ages and in estate planning and elder law.
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