Will a correctly done will from Georgia in 2011 be valid in SC?

The guardianship will no loner apply since my children are no longer minors. Therefore, I also want to appoint a different executor. Can I do this myself with an amendment signed and notarized?

Mount Pleasant, SC -

Attorney Answers (3)

Answered

Can you do it yourself? I suppose so. I could do brain surgery on myself. But I am not a doctor and don't have a clue what I am doing in the surgical arena. Likewise, you should not draft your own will or codicil as whatever you create may or may not be valid and may end up resulting in a costly lawsuit because you tried to save a few dollars.

If your will was properly drafted, then it would say something to the effect of "in the event my children are minors or under age 18, then I appoint X as guardian." In such case, there would be no need to amend your will at all since the children are no longer minors.

If the will was done properly - i.e., by a competent lawyer, signed by you and 2 witnesses who are not beneficiaries under the will and notarized and otherwise complies with the GA requirements, then the will should be good in SC. Below are some helpful SC statutes:

SECTION 62-2-505. Choice of law as to execution. A written will is valid if executed in compliance with Section 62-2-502 either at the time of execution or at the date of the testator's death or if its execution complies with the law at the time of execution of (1) the place where the will is executed, or (2) the place where the testator is domiciled at the time of execution or at the time of death.

SECTION 62-2-502. Execution. Except as provided for writings within Section 62-2-512 and wills within Section 62-2-505, every will, shall be in writing signed by the testator or in the testator's name by some other person in the testator's presence and by his direction, and shall be signed by at least two persons each of whom witnessed either the signing or the testator's acknowledgment of the signature or of the will.

Its a good idea to periodically review a will to make sure that it is not out of date and still comports with your wishes. Any time there is a major life-changing event like a birth, death, marriage, divorce, adoption or relocation, the will needs to be reviewed by an estate planning attorney in your new state of residence.

In addition to a will, your estate plan should include a financial power of attorney and healthcare directive (this goes by different names in different states - GA combines a healthcare power of attorney and living will into a single document - you either need the combined document or a separate living will and health care power of attorney).

I am not licensed to practice in SC and I am not purporting to advise you of the SC laws. However, in the interest of helping you, I pointed out the parts of the SC law which may be of benefit to you. As I said, you should consult with an attorney in SC.

James P. Frederick

James P. Frederick

Estate Planning Attorney - Livonia, MI
Answered

Since you want to make changes in your document anyway, your best bet is to simply hire an SC attorney to prepare a new Will. That will allow you to make the changes you want and to be sure that the Will takes advantage of SC's law. Wills are not expensive to prepare through a lawyer and the cost is MUCH less than hiring a lawyer to clean up the mess, after you are gone.

James Frederick

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Lawrence John Gibney Jr.

Lawrence John Gibney Jr.

Intellectual Property Law Attorney - Jacksonville, FL
Answered

Wills are relatively inexpensive documents to prepare and I always recommend professional guidance. A poorly drafted will can cause a great amount of misery while a properly prepared will can minimize family tensions. Best of luck to you.

This information is provided as a public service to provide a general answer and should not be relied upon as... more

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