Why do I need a will?

A will allows you, instead of the state of Georgia, to decide who will receive your assets after you die. If you don’t have a will, your estate will be distributed as required by the Georgia Probate Code. If there is no estate plan, usually your nearest relatives will inherit the estate. However, if you wanted to make a gift to other relatives, to someone outside of the family, or to a charity, it won’t happen unless you have an estate plan.

Nomination of executors

In addition to distributing your estate, a will can nominate an executor, who is the person who will be in charge of administering the estate. If you don’t have a will, state law will determine which person has the highest priority to become the executor.

Nomination of guardians

A will also can nominate guardians for your children who are under age 18. This nomination provides valuable information to the court that will determine who the guardians will be. The probate of the will and the appointment of guardians are done in two separate court proceedings. If the will nominates a guardian, that nomination is one of many factors that a judge will consider during a guardianship proceeding. The nomination of a guardian in a will is important because it may be the only reliable evidence of who the decedent wanted as guardian.