Arlington Wills Lawyer

A will is an essential piece of a comprehensive estate plan. Even if you do not own much property or have many assets, having a legally valid Last Will and Testament at death can provide for the smooth distribution of one’s assets at death with minimal delay and expense.

If you need to create or modify a will, speak with an Arlington wills lawyer to make sure that your heirs receive what you want them to have.  A well-versed trusts and estates lawyer can help you create a plan to make sure your family is taken care of.

Legal Requirements in Arlington

In Virginia, any person who is at least 18 years old and maintains the required testamentary capacity can create a will. See Va. Code Ann. §64.2-401. The will must be written and signed by its creator, known as the testator, in the presence of two witnesses. The witnesses must also sign the will in the testator’s presence.

There is no requirement that the will be notarized. However, testators who want to avoid want to streamline the probate process can create a self-proving affidavit and having it notarized. This document reinforces the validity of the will in court.

Benefits of Having a Will

Having a will makes administering a person’s estate simpler and more likely to be in line with the deceased’s wishes. Without a will, the probate court will have to name an executor to manage the estate and the deceased’s property will be distributed to their heirs according to the rules of intestate succession. These rules give property to a person’s relatives based on how closely they were related to the deceased.

By creating a will, the testator can choose their own executor and can determine which of their loved ones receives their property after they die. The testator can use their will to leave property to individuals or charitable organizations. They can also use a will to name a guardian for their minor children or name a person to manage the property being left to children. A will can also distribute any remaining property that was not added to a trust.

The testator can change or revoke their will at any time. Testators can do this by destroying their will or by drafting a new will that revokes the previous one. Testators can also add to their will by executing a document called a codicil.

What Wills Cannot Do

While wills are essential estate planning tools, there are some things they cannot do. First, a will cannot avoid the probate process like a trust. Instead, wills are administered through the probate court.

A will also cannot transfer property that was already transferred via another means. For example, it cannot distribute property that is part of a trust, property that is jointly owned with another person, or assets that have a payable-on-death designation.

Work with an Arlington Wills Attorney Today

Creating a will is an important part of protecting your family’s future. Putting it off can cause turmoil in case of an unexpected death. Make sure that your wishes are respected and your loved ones have support by contacting an Arlington wills lawyer today for help.