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Liberal wills preparation laws increase chances of disputes

In many states, someone who wants to create a will has many rules to follow, including having an appropriate number of witnesses and following certain standards of preparation. In Georgia, however, wills preparation is not so complex. While this may encourage more people to leave a record of their final wishes, it may open the way for family disputes and legal challenges.

Creating a will is a critical task for anyone who has an estate, children or other issues to resolve after death. A will not only distributes one’s belongings, but it also can name an appropriate guardian for one’s children and designate someone to represent the estate during probate. While these may seem like grown-up issues, Georgia is the only state allowing children as young as age 14 to write a will.

Unlike many other states, Georgia also accepts nuncupative wills, which are oral wills one may make in the time of a final illness. Nuncupative wills are made in the presence of two witnesses who must understand that the testator is executing a will. Those witnesses must then transcribe the testator’s wishes within 30 days. Holographic, or handwritten wills, are not recognized by the state of Georgia.

While the state may make it easier for some to execute a will, it may also create complex issues. For example, the witnesses of a nuncupative will may disagree on the details when it comes to transcribing the will, and family members may challenge the capacity of someone who seems to have been too young to execute a will. This is why many seeking wills preparation turn to a skilled attorney who can clear up any confusion and assist in creating a thorough and valid will that complies with state laws.

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