Virginia Wills Laws

Writing a will is one of the most important things you can do for your family members and loved ones, since it simplifies the process of parceling out the belongings of the deceased. State laws govern the rules and processes involved in writing and enforcing a will.

Who May Write A Will In Virginia?

Any mentally competent person who is at least eighteen years old may make a will. However, later proof of any fraud, duress, or undue influence on the testator may cause the will to be invalid.

Do I Need Witnesses?

In Virginia, the signing of a will must generally be witnessed by two competent persons, who also must sign the will in front of the testator.

Although the law does not require a will to be notarized, it is a highly recommended practice followed by most lawyers. If the will includes a notarized "Self-Proving Affidavit", the will is presumed to be properly executed and is accepted by the court without testimony from the witnesses.

Handwritten Wills

Holographic (handwritten) wills are valid in Virginia, as long as at least two disinterested witnesses prove its authenticity. These types of wills are typically used in cases of an emergency where the testator doesn't have time to make a more formal will.

It must be signed by that person. It does not need to be witnessed; however two (2) people have to be able to testify that it is in that person's handwriting. It would be wise to have at least two (2) people witness at least the signature and to have them also sign each page of the will.

The basics of Virginia's will laws are summarized below. See FindLaw's Wills section for more articles and resources.

Code Section 64.1-46, et seq.
Age of Testator 18 years or older and of sound mind, or emancipated persons
Number of Witnesses Two or more competent witnesses present at same time who must subscribe will in presence of testator (no form of attestation necessary).
Nuncupative (Oral Wills) Valid for soldier in actual military service or mariner or seaman at sea to dispose of personal property.
Holographic Wills If will is wholly in handwriting of testator and signed by him, neither acknowledgment nor witnesses are necessary; proof of handwriting must be by at least two disinterested witnesses.

Note: State laws are constantly changing -- contact a Virginia wills attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.

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