2021 Georgia Code
Title 53 - Wills, Trusts, and Administration of Estates
Chapter 4 - Wills
Article 1 - General Provisions
§ 53-4-3. Determination Whether Instrument Is Will

Universal Citation: GA Code § 53-4-3 (2021)

No particular form is necessary to constitute a will. To determine whether an instrument is a will, the test is the intention of the maker to be gathered from the whole instrument, read in light of the surrounding circumstances. If the intention is to convey a present interest, though the possession is postponed until after death, the instrument is not a will. If the intention is to convey an interest accruing and having effect only at death, the instrument is a will.

(Code 1981, §53-4-3, enacted by Ga. L. 1996, p. 504, § 10.)


Am. Jur. 2d.

- 79 Am. Jur. 2d, Wills, §§ 4, 5, 9 et seq., 19. 80 Am. Jur. 2d, Wills, §§ 849, 850.


- 95 C.J.S., Wills, §§ 167 et seq., 176, 177, 831.


- May instrument inter vivos operate also as a will, or part of will, 45 A.L.R. 843.

Delivery of deed to third person to be delivered to grantee after grantor's death, 52 A.L.R. 1222.

Letter as a will or codicil, 54 A.L.R. 917; 40 A.L.R.2d 698.

Notation on note or securities as a will or codicil, 62 A.L.R. 292.

Language of will excluding or restricting one as beneficiary, as excluding him from class to whom gift is made in another part of will, 80 A.L.R. 140.

Construction and application of provision of will expressly giving executor or trustee power to mortgage realty, 115 A.L.R. 1417.

Testamentary character of memorandum or other informal writing not testamentary on its face regarding ownership or disposition of specific personal property, 117 A.L.R. 1327.

Judgment based on construction of instrument as res judicata of its validity, 164 A.L.R. 873.

Term "proceeds" in will or other trust instrument as indicating intention as to whether assets are to constitute principal or income, 1 A.L.R.2d 194.

Admissibility of extrinsic evidence upon issue of testamentary intent, 21 A.L.R.2d 319.

Effect on validity and character of instrument in form of deed of provisions therein indicating an intention to postpone or limit the rights of grantee until after the death of grantor, 31 A.L.R.2d 532.

Validity of will written on disconnected sheets, 38 A.L.R.2d 477.

Admissibility of testator's declarations upon issue of genuineness or due execution of purported will, 62 A.L.R.2d 855.

Authorization by trust instrument of investment of trust funds in nonlegal investments, 78 A.L.R.2d 7.

Effect of mistake of draftsman (other than testator) in drawing will, 90 A.L.R.2d 924.

Wills: bequest or devise referring to services to be rendered by donee to testator during latter's lifetime as absolute or conditional gift, 22 A.L.R.3d 771.

Wills: effect of gift to be disposed of "as already agreed" upon or the like, 85 A.L.R.3d 1181.

Payable-on-death savings account or certificate of deposit as will, 50 A.L.R.4th 272.

Adoption as precluding testamentary gift under natural relative's will, 71 A.L.R.4th 374.

Adopted child as within class named in testamentary gift, 36 A.L.R.5th 395.

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