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What are the requirements for a legal will?

| Apr 23, 2021 | blog, Estate Planning & Wills

Putting your end-of-life wishes into a document is not enough to make it legally binding. You must make sure that you follow the law to create a legal will.

According to the Virginia State Bar, there are multiple requirements to create a will that a court will rule valid. The basic requirement is that you can only create your will if you are 18 years old or older.

Format

You must put your will in writing. There is not a specific form you must use, and the law does not dictate what you must put into the document.

You can type it or handwrite it. A handwritten will is known as a holographic will as long as it you write the complete document in your own handwriting and sign it yourself.

Witnesses

The law requires you to have two other people sign your will as witnesses. The exception is if you have a holographic will. You do not need witnesses for that type of document.

The people who witness your will cannot be beneficiaries. They must be parties who have no interest in the contents of the will.

Competence

You need to be competent and able to completely understand the document you want to create. You should make sure you are healthy and that you do not have any signs or symptoms of mental illness or dementia when creating the document.

Free will

You must create a will under your own free will. Nobody can make you do it or coerce you into doing it. You also must make all the decisions in the document yourself without influence from others.

Signature

You need to sign the will or make a mark that represents your signature. You should also date it.

With all of these requirements met, your will should stand up to scrutiny by the court.

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