If you are considering estate planning, you may be curious about how some common documents are created and executed. There are several legal requirements to keep in mind when considering writing a will in VA. Learn more about how you can write a will that will be legally valid in order to ensure and protect your legal rights to pass on your assets and property to your beneficiaries.
Four Requirements for a Valid Will in Virginia
- Age Requirement – In order to execute a valid will in the state of Virginia, a person must be at least 18 years of age.
- Mental Capacity – Those creating a will in the state of Virginia must be sound mind and mentally competent. Without mental competency, serious errors and misjudgments can occur when creating a will.
- Writing Requirement – The state of Virginia indicates that no will is valid, “unless it is in writing and signed by the testator, or by some person in the testator’s presence and by his direction.” Oral wills are not valid in Virginia.
- Witness Requirement – The state of Virginia requires that every will has at least two witnesses that will sign the will in order to prove validity. While notarization is not required, it is helpful to prove a legally valid will so that witnesses do not have to be called in at some future date to authenticate the will.
All of these requirements exist to try and prevent fraud and forgeries. If no witnesses saw the actual singing of the document, it is possible that the will may still be valid if it appears to be in the testator’s handwriting, has a signature, and is dated. However, even if this occurs, two disinterested individuals (persons who are not named in the will) must testify that the handwriting is that of the testator. This type of a will is called a holographic will.
Writing a Will in VA
If you are wondering how to write a will in Virginia, keep in mind that there is no legal requirement to have an attorney draft your will or provide you with legal guidance. However, if you make the decision to prepare your own will, you should know that there are several statutory and legal requirements to follow, otherwise the will could be declared invalid. You will need to make difficult decisions such as who will be the guardian of minor children, whether you want to create a living trust or special needs trust, who will administer your estate, and how best to distribute your assets and property. Making a comprehensive list of all of your assets and to whom you want those assets distributed can take a considerable amount of time. Once your will is complete and properly executed, you should always keep it in a safe place and distribute copies to other individuals so that someone will have a copy when you pass away.
How to Write a Will in Virginia: Contact an Experienced Attorney Today
If you are considering creating a will or any other estate planning document, we welcome the opportunity to visit with you about your estate planning needs. Contact the experienced estate planning attorneys at Kurylo Gold & Josey at (540) 642-1766 or online today.