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Trust and Estates Attorneys

Formalities to Writing a Will

There are certain formalities to writing a will that someone will have to take into consideration, such as complex language and specifics to the validity of the document. A last will and testament has to express the wishes of the testator. In practice, that often means that the testator is the only person signing the documents along with the required witnesses and notaries, and an individual has to make those decisions voluntarily. A Virginia wills attorney who has experience in a variety of estate administration and will writing will best be able to help anyone understand the specific formalities to writing a will.

Properly Prepare for Writing a Will

The most common purpose of a last will and testament is to identify how property will be treated at death. That does not mean the will requires complete distribution to beneficiaries. It may include testamentary trusts, which would allow for the assets to continue to be held in trusts for beneficiaries or certain beneficiaries. Generally, a last will and testament addresses what is going to happen with property after the death of the testator. An attorney can best assist with aiding individuals throughout the estate planning process. Most attorneys will send out a questionnaire that helps the individual begin to think about some of the decisions they will have to make throughout the estate planning process.

There is no requirement that a last will and testament be bound or stapled in any specific way. However, once a will is bound or stapled, it is prudent to not unbind or un-staple an original will. Anything that is uncharacteristic about the will or any indications that the will was tampered with or changed may put into question the validity of the last will and testament. While there is no requirement that a will be bound, anything on the face of the will that looks as if the will has been tampered with may raise questions at their clerk’s office.

An individual can write their own will, but the creation of a last will and testament involves complex concepts and language. For an individual who is not a trust and estate attorney, deciphering the appropriate language to include and formalities to writing a will can be very difficult. Often, in a last will and testament, one or two words or a different sentence or phrase may change an outcome of the will if someone is not familiar with those concepts.

Benefit of an Attorney

Often, an estate and trust attorney can work with an individual to create a comprehensive estate plan that, while it will unlikely include a will, will include other documents that are important in an estate plan that may deal with incapacity or other issues.

An estate and trust attorney can walk an individual through the important decisions they will have to make to create a last will and testament. An attorney has experience in drafting wills and testaments and in the practicality of administering those documents and is knowledgeable about the local laws and the tax laws that are applicable to the creation of a last will and testament that may not be apparent to everyone.