Does a will have to be recorded in GA?

Asked over 2 years ago - Snellville, GA

I only have one heir so I was thinking about using an online source to write a will instead of paying an attorney. I learned that I need two witnesses to sign to make it legal but I can't find any other information

Attorney answers (5)

  1. Glen Edward Ashman

    Pro

    Contributor Level 20

    15

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . There is probably nothing worse you could do to your family than to use online garbage like LegalZoom and the other messes you'll find online. The few dollars you may save now (and the cost of a will with a lawyer is so low that the savings will be tiny) will typically cause expensive problems later.

    Small mistakes in drafting can cause immense problems. Heirs can lose their inheritance. Your executor may face added costs in probate due to granting the wrong powers or through less than perfect language. The will might even be invalid. And while your statement that you need two witnesses is true, a will with just two witnesses is NOT the easiest to probate (as you'll have left out the very helpful and cost-saving attestation).

    Note also that the probate laws of each state are very different, and that most online wills are generic (designed to work everywhere). That means they are usually not optimal in any state.

    Additionally, when you pay a lawyer to draft a will, he will do additional things. He will make sure that your house deeds, bank accounts, investments, retirement plans and insurance are set up in ways that coordinate with the will and simplify transfer of assets. He'll make sure minor children and grandchildren have a proper trust to protect them (and guardians to raise them). He'll look into related estate planning you likely have not done - powers of attorney and health care directives.

    Note that when you say you have one heir, you also need to think about what happens if you and the heir die at the same time, or he dies first, or he is unable at the time of your death to probate an estate. With one heir it also may be possible to draft shortcuts that will make probate a lot cheaper and faster and easier.

    The few hundred dollars you may save now will make things very costly for that heir. If you want to do this right, call a lawyer. My office has very reasonable fees for simple estates, and I'd be glad to help. I can be reached at 404-768-3509.

    If you find this answer helpful, please mark it here on AVVO as helpful. In answering you, I am attempting to... more
  2. Joseph Franklin Pippen Jr.

    Pro

    Contributor Level 20

    16

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . You have some great answers and advice-I would say that 90% of the self-made documents are wrong or have not covered an important point.

    The answer given does not imply that an attorney-client relationship has been established and your best course of... more
  3. David Michael Lawler

    Contributor Level 13

    14

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . Your research is incomplete. In order to be self proving, a georgia will needs two witnesses and also needs to be notarized. Be very wary of online wills. They are notoriously inadequate when being probated. A will should not be recorded, unless you want the world to know in advance what you have and how you want it dispersed.
    Estate planning is not the place to pinch pennies. A well written will save you respect hundreds if not thousands of dollars

    The information and opinion rendered herein is done as a courtesy and is for general informational purposes.... more
  4. Steven J. Fromm

    Contributor Level 20

    13

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . These online soures are a complete disservice to the public. The get paid for giving your family nothing but a lawsuit down the road. Get a qualified estate planning attorney and stop looking for trouble. You are not saving your family once someone tries to probate this ill conceived and probably unenforceable document.

    Hope this helps.

    Please remember to designate a best answer to your question.

    Mr. Fromm is licensed to practice law throughout the state of PA with offices in Philadelphia and Montgomery Counties. He is authorized to handle IRS matters throughout the United States. His phone number is 215-735-2336 or his email address is sjfpc@comcast.net , his website for more tax, estate and business articles is www.sjfpc.com. and his blog is

    LEGAL DISCLAIMER Mr. Fromm is licensed to practice law throughout the state of PA with offices in Philadelphia... more
  5. Joel Richard Beck

    Contributor Level 11

    9

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . You need two witnesses to the will to have it validly executed. But the two witnesses can't be anyone, they have to meet certain requirements, including that they are disinterested - meaning that they don't stand to benefit from your will. And while you don't have to have a self-proving affidavit, any experienced lawyer will make sure that an affidavit is completed as well, to make the probate process much easier, and to make the will "self-proving" to avoid the need to have the witnesses appear in court to prove up the will. Your "online source" may or may not include that affidavit. In terms of "recording" the will, in Georgia people generally do not file the will with any court until such time as it is needed to be admitted for probate after the death of the testator (the testator is the person who completed the will).

    Going it alone on an important document such as this is likely not the best decision you could make. Experienced lawyers can assist you with your will for reasonable rates, can make sure that you properly plan and consider different scenarios that might arise, and will make sure that you actually get the will executed properly. You should pay attention to the disclaimers on the online sites that tell you clearly that they are not providing you with legal advice. When you need legal advice to make sure things are handled right, you should consult an experienced lawyer.

    Since you are not a client, the only advice that I can give you is that you is that you should speak with a lawyer in your area to discuss your estate planning needs. You can find several here on Avvo. My office is in Snellville, and I'd be happy to chat with you for a few minutes if you wish to discuss your needs.

    This is for general informational purposes only, is not intended to be legal advice for your specific situation,... more

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