Northern Virginia Wills

Even if you have a trust, a will is an essential part of your estate plan. This document can give you control over who will receive your property when you pass on, and it is the place to designate a guardian for your minor children. You can even use your will to contribute to a charity after you pass away.

Unlike a living will that will provide for your care if you become incapacitated, your last will and testament will not go into effect until after death. However, you should not put off drafting your will. Contact a Northern Virginia wills attorney at PJI Law for help.

Requirements For A Valid Will

Wills must usually meet certain requirements to be valid in the eyes of the law. The requirements include:

Guardianship for Minor Children

If you have minor children, you can name a guardian for them in your will. Then, if you and the other parent pass away while the child is under 18, the court will look to your will as opposed to choosing a guardian on its own.

Along with your first choice, it’s wise to choose one or two backup guardians in case anything happens. Choose guardians who will be able to care for your children until they reach the age of 18. You should also make sure the guardians would raise your children as you wish. Your Northern Virginia wills attorney can help you include a guardian in the document, and can even assist you with providing directions to your guardian on how you would like your children to be raised. The attorney can also go over estate planning options you can use to provide financial support to your minor children upon your death.

Pour-over wills in Northern Virginia

A Northern Virginia wills attorney at PJI Law can also help you create a pour-over will as part of your estate plan. A pour-over will is beneficial if you have a revocable trust. You will fund your revocable trust with property from your estate. Regardless of how diligent you are, it’s possible to forget to transfer property into the trust. Without a pour-over will, the state will follow the laws of intestacy to distribute the property. You can prevent that by creating a pour-over will. It will contain all the property that you did not include in your revocable trust. Then your property will be distributed based on your wishes.

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Self-proving Affidavit

Virginia residents do not need to include a self-proving affidavit when creating a will, although it is recommended. The testator and witnesses sign the affidavit as proof that the will was properly executed. Then the affidavit is notarized and attached to the will. If you do not create a self-proving affidavit, your executor will need to locate at least one of the will’s witnesses to confirm the will’s validity. The witness might be required to appear in probate court. By creating an affidavit, probate will be faster and easier. Your Northern Virginia wills attorney can create this affidavit for you if you wish to include it with your last will and testament.

Can You Change a Will?

You can change your will any time you wish as long as you are of sound mind and are doing so voluntarily. While you can amend an existing will, many people choose to create a new document when making changes. Making a new will invalidates the previous will. Contact a Northern Virginia wills attorney for help if you need to change your will or create a new one. Your attorney will help you make the changes to ensure they are legally binding.

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