1) WHO SHOULD HAVE A WILL?
Every person who wishes to have control over the disposition of their property after death should have a Will. In Georgia, without a Will, the property of a person who dies is distributed according to state law, and the estate is managed by a court appointed administrator. The cost of administering your estate is often far greater than if you had paid for a well-prepared Will. Unlike some states, probate of a Will in Georgia is simple, and would probably be easier and less costly than other methods of controlling your estate.
2) WHAT IS NECESSARY TO MAKE A WILL?
You must be at least 14 years old, and of sufficient mind and memory to realize you are making a Will disposing of your property. The Will must be in writing (unless made on your deathbed), and witnessed by at least 2 witnesses in a specific legal manner. It is important to have the Will drawn by an attorney because the formal execution and proper format is just as important as the content of the Will. The expertise of an attorney is necessary to determine the contents based upon your specific legal circumstances.
3) WHEN SHOULD YOU MAKE OR REVIEW A WILL?
As soon as you have property, or have children to be cared for, you should make a Will. These are not decisions that you want to leave to the State. Whenever there is a change in your legal circumstances, such as marriage, divorce, birth or adoption of a child, death of a beneficiary, you must review your Will with an attorney. Unless the event was specifically anticipated in the Will, your old Will is probably no longer valid.
4) WHAT ARE LIVING WILLS?
This is a state approved method by which a competent adult person makes a written instruction to his/her physician to withhold or withdraw life-sustaining procedures in the event of a terminal condition. These are statutory forms which can be obtained from a medical facility. However, they can be executed in a more prepared state of mind in conjunction with the execution of your Last Will and Testament. Most attorneys will include this document at no extra charge when they have prepared your Will.