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When you should consider changing your will

When you should consider changing your will
By David Walker, Attorney at Law

You should review your will at least every five years to make sure your views have not changed as far as who you want to have your property. Changed relationships and changed financial circumstances can make a difference. 

David Walker, Attorney at Law

Under some circumstances, in Georgia, your will is revoked by operation of law. These include:

•When you marry; or,

•When you have a child, either born or adopted. 

Under Georgia law either of these events automatically revokes your will. 

OCGA § 53-4-48  (a) provides that: 

Except as otherwise provided in Code Section 53-4-49, the marriage of the testator, the birth of a child to the testator, including a posthumous child born within ten months of the testator’s death, or the adoption of a child by the testator subsequent to the making of a will in which no provision is made in contemplation of such event shall result in a revocation of the will only to the extent provided in the remainder of this Code section. 

When you divorce, under Georgia law it is as if your spouse died before you did. There is not an automatic revocation, but the changed circumstances make it a good time to review your will. 

OCGA § 53-4-49 provides that:

All provisions of a will made prior to a testator’s final divorce or the annulment of the testator’s marriage in which no provision is made in contemplation of such event shall take effect as if the former spouse had predeceased the testator. If the testator remarries the former spouse and the testator has not revoked or amended the will that was made prior to the divorce or annulment, the remarriage shall not result in the revocation of the will and the provisions of the will that were revoked solely due to the application of this Code section shall be revived.

When you move from one state to another, because of differences in state laws, a new will may be advised. Every state has its own laws about wills and probate, and what you heard in one state may not apply to your new one. 

Other events can bear on your planning. These can include;

•If one of your beneficiaries dies before you do; and if you made plans for another person to receive your property to in that event, your views may have changed;

•If one of your beneficiaries’ own financial circumstances change significantly,

•Or, if your own financial circumstances change, or when you no longer own some property that you planned to give to someone under your will. 

•If you have increased the amount of your assets in beneficiary accounts such as IRA, 401(k), or annuities, you should be aware that the disposition of these funds is not controlled by your will unless your beneficiary is your estate. If your beneficiary is a named person, as shown on the beneficiary designation form with the financial institution, that person will receive the asset regardless of anything to the contrary in your will. This also applies to life insurance.

Hopefully this will give food for thought as to whether it is time to change your will. Please call our office with any inquiries. 

David Sinclair Walker, Jr. P.C. P.O.BOX 871329, Stone Mountain GA 30087;

North Gwinnett Office – 6340 Sugarloaf Parkway, Suite 200, Duluth GA 30097;

South Gwinnett Office – 2330 Scenic Highway, Snellville GA 30078

Telephone 770-972-3803; Facsimile 770-921-7418 email

-Admitted in GA and D.C. -UGA Law ’76 -Certified Mediator -Georgia Bar No. 731725770) 972-3803 or visit