Deathbed Wills: Are They Valid?

Also known as “The Last Testament” of an individual, a will is a legal statement or document. To ensure that possessions are distributed the way you would like, a will is necessary. While many assume that wills are created later in life, this is not necessarily recommended. In fact, everyone of legal age should have a will that makes sense according to where they are in life. In regards to the validity of wills, many questions arise, specifically in the case of the Deathbed Will. This type of will is drawn up or revised as someone is facing certain death. You may be wondering: In the state of Georgia, is the Deathbed Will valid? The answer is—yes.

A Deathbed Will is considered valid if the will is:

Handwritten and signed by the person creating it – OR

Signed and dated by the person creating it, and witnesses present understand that the will represents the person’s final wishes. The witnesses must show their understanding by also signing the will.

Are Deathbed Wills common?

When facing the end of life, it is increasingly common for someone to update an old will, or establish one for the first time. There are no legal rules about when or where a will can be created. Thus, people are free to prepare and revise as they please. For the most part, it depends on the circumstances surrounding their final days.

The concern shared by most family members relating to the Deathbed Will is the competency of the person creating it. If the individual is very ill, they may leave out important information, or even allow family members to influence their decisions. This is one reason why having two adult witnesses (that are not included in the will) present to “sign off” on the person’s wishes is important. While they are not required to read the document, they must be aware that the will includes the final wishes of the person.

While Deathbed Wills are valid, they are, in a sense—risky. The chance of litigation after the will-maker’s death is greater. All it takes is a frustrated family member, crooked friend or caretaker to challenge the will.

The attorneys at Shepard, Plunkett, and Hamilton, LLP, understand the importance of preparing a will. We also realize that your circumstances are unique. We promise to help devise the best way for you to protect your assets. Should you find that you are in the middle of a will dispute, our experienced and sympathetic attorneys want to help. Call us today for a consultation. 

Posted on Behalf of Shepard, Plunkett, and Hamilton, LLP

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