Roanoke Wills Attorney
There are two main types of estate plans — one based on a last will and testament and the other based on a trust. Although you can find do-it-yourself will forms online, you need an experienced Roanoke wills attorney to help you. Using a template online could mean you are missing important details and assets. Also, you may have unique aspects to your situation that a boilerplate will template can’t address.
Importance of Having a Virginia Will
Your last will and testament becomes a legal document once you follow all the procedures to sign, have witnessed, and attested to in person. When you pass away, this executed document will then be enforceable. Your will can be revoked and changed at any time prior to death, provided you still have the capacity.
Changing a will is more common than you might think. What your wishes are at 25 years old may not be the same as they are at 50 or 70. You may not have children yet when you draft your first will, or you may amass more assets down the line. When you work with a skilled Roanoke wills attorney, we can help you make regular updates to your will to ensure it reflects your current situation.
Requirements to Create a Will in Virginia
Before you can create a legally executable will in Virginia, you must meet the four requirements. These are:
- Age Requirement: In almost every case, you need to be at least 18 years of age to execute a will.
- Mental Capacity: Anyone wanting to create a will must also have mental capacity. That means you must be of sound mind or mentally competent. If you are under the influence of drugs or alcohol at the time or suffering from early-onset dementia, your mental capacity could be called into question.
- Writing Requirement: All wills must be in writing and signed by you, the testator, or signed by someone you direct, such as a power of attorney. You cannot enforce an oral will in Virginia. That is to help prevent fraud.
- Witness Requirement: All wills must be signed in the presence of two witnesses. They also have to sign in front of you to confirm the will’s validity. You may not need it notarized, but you should just further clarify its validity in the event of a dispute. You can also ask your witnesses to sign a self-proving affidavit. This affidavit will allow the witnesses to “testify” without physically being present in court should a dispute arise later.
There may be some situations where the will was not witnessed. An exception could apply if the will is in the testator’s handwriting and it’s signed and dated by them. This can only be proven by having two disinterested individuals who must confirm the testator’s handwriting and signature.
Contact a Roanoke Wills Attorney
If you have not started your estate plan yet, now is the time to consider at least drafting a will. You shouldn’t wait until it’s too late — a last will and testament is one of the most important documents you will ever execute in your life. To learn more about how a Roanoke wills attorney can help, contact the experienced legal team at MichieHamlett today to schedule an initial consultation.