The best way to ensure that your heirs are protected and that your final wishes are honored is through a will and estate plan. Like every state, Virginia has specific laws regarding the creation of a valid will, and hiring an experienced estate planning attorney is the best way to ensure that your will is drafted correctly. To learn more about what it takes to create a will and other estate planning documents in Virginia, call or contact Kurylo & Gold in Fredericksburg to schedule a free consultation with one of our experts in estate planning today.
Requirements of a Valid Will
In order to have a valid will in Virginia, the first step is to get your final wishes in writing. Second, you must sign the will. An unsigned will is considered invalid under state law, even if someone could testify to you drafting the will prior to your passing. Third, the will must be signed in front of two disinterested witnesses and those witnesses must sign the document in front of you. This means that the witnesses do not stand to benefit from the contents of your will. If one or both witnesses stand to inherit, challenges to your will could arise with claims of duress or undue influence that would render your will void.
Other Estate Planning Documents
In addition to a final will and testament, there are other estate planning documents that you should consider drafting to ensure that your final wishes for you and your estate are upheld. The first is a power of attorney document. This instrument names a person to make all legal and financial decisions on your behalf if you become unable to do so yourself.
The next document is a living will. A living will gives detailed instructions about what medical care you do or do not wish to receive if you become disabled or incapacitated in some way that renders you unable to communicate these wishes yourself. These decisions include what procedures you do and do not approve of, a Do Not Resuscitate form, what medications you do and do not approve of, and more.
The last document is a healthcare proxy form. Similar to a power of attorney, this instrument names a person to make healthcare decisions on your behalf if you cannot communicate them. If you have a healthcare proxy and a living will, your proxy is bound to your decisions in the living will. If not, they will make decisions regarding your care.
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While the prospect of creating a will in Virginia can seem daunting, an estate plan is the best way to ensure that your loved ones are cared for after you are gone and that your estate is distributed according to your wishes. To learn more about what it takes to create a valid will in Virginia, call or contact the office of Kurylo & Gold in Fredericksburg today to schedule a free consultation of your case.