Experienced Virginia Wills Attorney
Why Do I Need an Attorney to Write My Will?
A Will is a signed written document in which a person directs what is to be done with his or her property after death. It must be written and signed in a particular way, as required by the laws of the state in which the person signing resides.
The person who makes the Will is called a testator (male) or testatrix (female). In Virginia, Wills are witnessed by 2 witnesses. In addition, a notarized self-proving affidavit is executed at the time the Will is signed.
It is important to retain seasoned legal counsel when writing a legal document as important as your Will. Contact us in our Fairfax law offices for a confidential appointment with an experienced attorney. Our practice at Jean Galloway Ball, PLC is devoted exclusively to estate planning and Wills.
Dying Without a Will
There is no legal requirement that you have a Will. But if you should die without one your estate will be distributed according to state law. When you create a Will, you can direct how you as a decedent want your property divided after your death.
You may name the person you want to handle your estate. You can decrease the expenses of administering your estate, and reduce or avoid estate taxes. You may provide for a trust for the support and education of your minor children without court proceedings. You may select a guardian for your minor children, and determine inheritance.
Changing Your Last Will and Testament
A properly executed Will is valid unless changes occur which affect the Will or the Will is revoked before death. Changes which affect a Will include events such as the birth of a child born to the testator, divorce or marriage of the testator or changes in the tax law after the Will is written and signed.
A person may change a Will as often as desired. However, any changes to the Will must be made with the same care and formality as is required for the execution of the will. A "codicil" is the legal document used to revise a Will.
Anyone who is 18 years of age or older may make a Will. He or she also must be of sound mind and free of any improper or undue influence by another person when the Will is made.
Alternatives to a Will
An alternative estate planning device is a living trust. The living trust frequently is suggested as a means of avoiding probate. It also can be used for estate and probate tax minimization or avoidance and as a means of providing support for minor, disabled or immature children and grandchildren.
Our estate planning attorneys will meet with you to discuss the specifics of your estate. They will considered the type and amount of your assets, and your goals, and advise you on the best document to meet your needs.
Contact us for a confidential appointment with a qualified real estate and living wills lawyer at Jean Galloway Ball, PLC.