How to Make Changes to Wills in Georgia

By Stephanie Kurose, J.D.

How to Make Changes to Wills in Georgia

By Stephanie Kurose, J.D.

The state of Georgia allows a person who has created a will—known as the testator—to change, amend, or modify their will at any time as long as they adhere to the legal requirements and formalities set forth under Georgia law. An amendment to an existing will is also known as a codicil. Title 53 of the Georgia Code governs the creation of both wills and codicils.

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Generally, a testator amends their existing will any time their personal needs change or they experience a major life change and want to incorporate it into their will. Georgia law allows the testator to change, modify, update, or revoke their will at any time, as long as they meet certain requirements.

Under Section 53-4-20, a testator can execute a codicil by following the same formalities required to execute a will. The testator must be of legal age and of sound mind, which typically means they know what they are doing and have not been deemed incompetent in a prior legal proceeding. There must also be two competent, attesting witnesses present. If you would like help amending your will, you can also utilize an online legal services provider.

1. Create a physical document.

The first step of amending your will is creating a physical document expressly noting the specific changes you want made to your existing will. These changes should be in the form of a typed physical document that clearly indicates that it is a codicil to an existing will. It is best to include a heading such as "Codicil to the Last Will and Testament of [your name]." You should include your full name, county of residence, state (Georgia), the current date, and the date of your will.

2. Describe the specific changes.

Describe each provision or term in your existing will that you want to change. These should be as specific as possible and note the section numbers in the original will for clarity. If you add something entirely new, note that, and describe the addition and to whom you are leaving it.

3. Clarify the document as a codicil.

It is important to clarify that you intend this new document to amend your existing will, not replace it. Explicitly state that the provisions of your current will remain the same, except for those amended by the codicil.

4. Choose two witnesses.

For you to execute the codicil, Georgia law requires two competent witnesses who are at least 14 years old to be present when you sign and date your codicil document. Each witness must also sign and date the codicil in front of you immediately after you have signed it.

5. Attach the codicil to your will.

The final step is to attach the codicil to your will; if you do not physically attach it, keep it in the same place. If you lose the codicil, it can cause problems when the will goes through probate.

A last will and testament is a very important estate-planning tool. You should modify your will at various points in your life to fit your personal needs and reflect any life changes. As long as you follow Georgia law, you can amend your will at any time.

This portion of the site is for informational purposes only. The content is not legal advice. The statements and opinions are the expression of author, not LegalZoom, and have not been evaluated by LegalZoom for accuracy, completeness, or changes in the law.