How Do You Make a Valid Will In Virginia?

To make a valid will under Virginia law, the will must be:

  1. In writing;
  2. Signed by the testator
  3. Witnessed by two competent witnesses

 

The requirements to make a valid will under Virginia law are found at Virginia Code § 64.2-403.

Who Can Make a Valid Will In Virginia?

Any person at least 18 years old that is of sound mind can make a will in Virginia.  See Virginia Code § 64.2-401.

To be of sound mind and have testamentary capacity to make a valid will in Virginia, the testator must:

  1. Understand the nature of the business in which he is engaged;
  2. Recollect the property he is disposing of;
  3. Know the objects of his bounty; and,
  4. Know how he wishes to distribute his property.

 

A Virginia Will Must Be Signed

In order to make a will that is valid under Virginia law, the testator, or some other person in the testator’s presence and by the testator’s direction, must sign the will in such a manner as to make it manifest that the name is intended as a signature.

Therefore, if a testator is unable to sign the will himself, it is legal under Virginia law for the testator to direct another person to sign the will for the testator.

If it is at all possible for the testator to sign the will himself, the testator should do so.  Having another person sign the will can encourage someone seeking to challenge the will to suggest that the testator lacked the capacity to execute the will.

Witness Requirements For a Valid Virginia Will

A Virginia will must be witnessed by two competent witnesses.  The testator must sign or acknowledge the will in front of the two witnesses.  The witnesses must be present at the same time and subscribe the will in the presence of each other and the testator.

Are Handwritten Wills Valid in Virginia?

Yes, handwritten wills can be valid under Virginia law.

If a will is wholly in the testator’s handwriting (a holographic will), the fact that the will is wholly in the testator’s handwriting and signed by the testator must be proved by at least two disinterested witnesses.  See Virginia Code § 64.2-403.

Does A Will Have To Be Notarized To Be Valid In Virginia?

No, there is no requirement under Virginia law that a will is only valid if it is notarized.

However, a Virginia will can be made self-proving.  To be self-proving, the testator and witnesses sign an affidavit in front of a notary attesting to will execution.

To make sure that your will is valid under Virginia law, it is a good idea to consult with a Virginia probate lawyer.

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