Does a person need to have a Will or can a notarized letter transfer their assets upon their death?

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Does a person need to have a Will or can a notarized letter transfer their assets upon their death?

My sister-in-law has just been diagnosed with Lew Body Dementia. She has lots of money, stocks, etc. but she has never made a Will. she told me last week she wanted to give me X amount of money and she wanted to give her siblings X amount of money. Is there any way she can write something up that states her wishes, have it notarized and it stand for her when she is no longer living?

Asked on January 2, 2012 under Estate Planning, Georgia

Answers:

M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

I am so sorry for her.  What would happen with the paper is that you wold try to submit it to the probate court to "act" as a Will in order to be able t transfer her assets. May I ask: is she still competant to make a Will?  Then if she is I would go and see an attorney as soon as possible to draw one up.  If she is not sompetnat to make a Will then a notarized piece of paper would not stnd up to a challenege in court regardless.  Further, handwritten Wills are not generally accepted so the handwritten paper would not be either.  A Wil is the way to go.  Good luck.


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