If you think you are “too young” or “too poor” to have a will, you may wish to revise your thinking. Why? Because if you die in Virginia without a will, the state, not you, will determine who inherits from you and in what proportions.
The Virginia State Bar counsels that all competent adults age 18 and older would do well to have a will. It can be as simple or complex as your needs and desires dictate. In addition to listing the people or organizations you want to inherit from you, and the things or amounts you want them to receive, your will can also designate who you want to finish raising your minor child(ren) if you and your spouse or partner unexpectedly die together before they reach the age of majority.
You must sign your will in front of two competent adult witnesses who must also sign it. Or you can sign it in front of a Notary Public who then signs a “Self-proving Affidavit.” Your estate planning attorney can advise you of these and all other technical requirements. He or she can also draft your will, making sure it adheres to all applicable Virginia laws.
Changing your will
Keep in mind that you can change your will at any time in the future. For instance, you likely will want to update it if you get married, divorced or remarried. You also likely will want to update it any time you welcome a new child into your family, whether by birth or adoption.
If and when you decide to change your will, you should physically destroy the old one. Your new one should state that it supersedes all previous wills you made.