If you do not have a will in place, it is important that you create one sooner rather than later. Regardless of your age and health status, a will can give you and your family peace of mind that, should something happen to you — expectedly or unexpectedly — you have directives in place for the distribution of your estate.
Before you create a will, however, it is important to familiarize yourself with state laws regarding this crucial end-of-life document. FindLaw addresses the most asked questions regarding wills in Virginia.
Who can write a will in Virginia?
Per Virginia law, you must be at least 18 years old and mentally competent to create a valid will. If any person can prove that you or a loved one created a will under duress, fraud or undue influence, the state may render the will invalid.
Are handwritten wills valid?
Virginia does recognize handwritten, or holographic, wills so long as two disinterested parties can attest to its legitimacy. If you choose to handwrite a will, you must sign it. Though you do not need witnesses to sign it, you do need at least two people to testify that the handwriting is, in fact, yours. Most people only resort to handwritten wills in times of emergencies, as more formal wills are easier to validate.
Do you need witnesses to sign your will?
For a more formal will, Virginia law does require two witnesses to sign the document while the testator is present. Not only must two witnesses sign the will but also, two competent persons must witness the signing.
Does Virginia require you to notarize a will?
Virginia does not require you to get your will notarized. However, the courts accept notarized wills much more quickly than they do un-notarized documents, making for a quicker probate process.
A will is an important and helpful document, but only if it is valid. To ensure you create a valid will, brush up on Virginia law, and do not be afraid to seek help.