Crafting a Virginia Last Will and Testament

Understanding Virginia State Laws on Last Will and Testament

Definition of Will – §64.2-100

Laws – Title 64.2 Wills (Wills, Trusts, and Fiduciaries)

Witnesses – According to §64.2-403, a Will in Virginia must meet the following requirements to be valid:

  • If the Testator handwrites the Will, it must be signed by two non-beneficiary Witnesses.
  • If the Testator doesn’t handwrite the Will, it must be signed by two Witnesses in the presence of each other, including the Testator.

A Sample Virginia Last Will and Testament with Step-by-Step Examples

Step 1 – Fill in your legal name and gender using the provided FormSwift template.

Step 2 – Enter your city and county of residence.

Step 3 – Select your marital status from the following options:

  • Single
  • Married
  • Separated
  • Divorced
  • Widowed

If you are married or separated, provide the name of your spouse.

Step 4 – Indicate if you have children, pets, property, or life insurance policies.

Step 5 – Enter the names of your living children and specify if they will be beneficiaries in your Will. Include the names of your pets if you have any. Additionally, provide details about your life insurance policies.

Step 6 – Specify the amount of money or percentage of your property you wish to leave to each child.

Step 7 – Mention if you want to set up a trust for someone with a mental illness or disability. Creating a trust for individuals requiring special care can protect their eligibility for Supplemental Security Income and Medicaid benefits.

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Step 8 – Provide the age at which your children can start receiving benefits from their trust. Also, indicate how much of the trust they will receive and the age at which the benefits end.

Step 9 – If you have a specific funeral home preference, enter that information here.

Step 10 – Specify any specific food or location preferences for the meal following the funeral service. If you have any other burial arrangement details, include them here.

Step 11 – Naming your Executor is crucial. Your Executor is responsible for administering your estate after your passing. Your Executor can be a beneficiary or your attorney. If you don’t name an Executor, the Virginia probate courts will appoint one, which may not align with your wishes. Provide the following information to name an Executor:

  • Executor’s name
  • Relationship to you

You can also name an alternate Executor or mention someone you do not want to act as your Executor.

Step 12 – Appointing a Trustee is necessary if your assets are set up in a trust. The Trustee will distribute your assets as per the trust terms after your death. You can also choose an alternate Trustee. If your assets are in a trust, provide the following information for the Trustee and alternate Trustee:

  • Name of your Trustee
  • Your relationship with them

Step 13 – A Digital Executor is someone responsible for distributing your digital assets, including trademarks, copyrights, valuable photos, and digital currency. If you have digital assets and wish to appoint a Digital Executor, provide the following information:

  • Name of your Digital Executor
  • Relationship with you
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Step 14 – For those with minor children, use this step to appoint a guardian and an alternate guardian to care for them in the event of your death. You may also consider appointing a conservator. Provide the following information for the guardian, alternate guardian, and/or conservator:

  • Name
  • Relationship to you

Step 15 – If you wish to appoint additional beneficiaries besides your children, provide the following information for each:

  • Name of Beneficiary
  • Relationship to you
  • Inheritance amount or percentage

Step 16 – If you want to disinherit a spouse, child, or another beneficiary, provide the following information:

  • Disinherited individual’s name
  • Relationship to you

Step 17 – Provide information for each of the witnesses in your Will:

  • Name
  • Address (including city, state, zip code)
  • Telephone number

When signing your Will, ensure that your two witnesses are present and ready to sign as well. After signing, keep your Will in a safe and easily accessible place.

Why is a Virginia Last Will and Testament form essential?

Creating a legal last will and testament in Virginia is a vital part of estate planning. By drafting a Will, you have the ability to name an executor who will carry out your wishes as outlined in the document. In your Will, you can specify the distribution of all your assets, including real estate, personal property, vehicles, jewelry, and other personal effects. You can leave your assets to anyone you choose, ensuring your loved ones are taken care of. Additionally, a last will and testament allows for guardianship appointments, pet trusts, and charitable donations.

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The Advantages of Having a Will

While a last will and testament is not legally required in Virginia, there are several benefits to having one:

  • You have control over how your assets are distributed.
  • You can name a guardian for your minor children.
  • You can make charitable donations.
  • You can establish a pet trust.
  • The most crucial aspect is naming an executor who will be responsible for carrying out your instructions as stated in your Will.

The Consequences of Not Having a Will

Without a valid Will in Virginia, intestacy laws come into effect. The probate court will make decisions regarding your assets and appoint a guardian, which may not align with your wishes. If you pass away in Virginia without a surviving spouse, the estate will be split among the surviving children. If there is a surviving spouse and children from a different relationship, one-third of the estate goes to the spouse, with the rest divided among the children. In cases where there is no surviving spouse or children, the probate court determines the next closest relative to inherit. If no relatives are found, the State of Virginia becomes the beneficiary of the estate.

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