Making the decision to write a will and establish an estate plan can benefit you and your loved ones. However, there are rules in Virginia that dictate how to write a valid will. At Select Law Partners, PLC our team of dedicated legal professionals has significant experience assisting clients draft and revise their wills, and we are prepared to provide top-tier legal advice in your case. To learn more about how to write a valid will, call or contact our office today to schedule a consultation.
The first requirement for a valid will in Virginia is that the person writing the will be a legal adult. This means that they must be 18 years old or older in order to execute a valid will.
The second requirement for a will to be valid in Virginia is mental capacity, otherwise known as mental fitness. When it comes to writing a will, this element is also referred to as testamentary capacity. In order to write a valid will, a person cannot be incapacitated due to dementia, illness, or injury to such an extent that they lack a sound mind. Typically, this requires a person to understand that they are writing a will, that they are choosing how to dispose of their estate after their passing, that they understand the extent of the assets in the estate, and to who those assets are being distributed. Most will challenges in Virginia probate court are made on the grounds of a lack of testamentary capacity.
The third requirement for a valid will in Virginia is that the will must be in writing. Some states allow for oral wills, which do not have to be in writing, but Virginia is not one of those states. In addition, the written will must be signed by the testator or by someone at the testator’s direction in order to make the will valid. Orally dictating your wishes is not enforceable, nor is a written will that is not signed, as the chances of fraud are too high.
Finally, the signing of the will must be done in front of two witnesses in order for it to be valid in Virginia. The witnesses must be competent and in cases of holographic wills, meaning wills in the testator’s handwriting, the witnesses must be disinterested. A “disinterested witness” is one that does not have a stake as an heir or beneficiary in the will. The will must be signed in front of the witnesses, and it is also good practice to have the will notarized to ensure its validity.
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Do you have further questions about writing a valid will in Virginia? If so, the knowledgeable estate planning attorneys of Select Law Partners, PLC, are prepared to help you write or revise a legitimate will. To learn more about your estate planning options, call or contact our office today to schedule a consultation.