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Last Wills and Testaments for Northern Virginia Residents

From the Law Firm of Northern Virginia Trusts and Estates

The Law Firm of Northern Virginia Trusts and Estates has been providing estate planning services including the creation of last will and testaments for Northern Virginia residents for more than 20 years.

Unfortunately, many people have heard the term last will and testament but are not certain what it refers to, or if it is even something that concerns them. In reality, a last will and testament is something that everyone should be familiar with and every person over the age of 18 should have.

Last will and testaments: An overview

When someone speaks about their last will and testament, they are talking about their will. These two phrases are used interchangeably, and in casual conversation, both can refer to both the actual document and other elements of one’s estate plan.

A last will and testament is the most basic form of estate planning and in its most simple form specifies which heirs are to inherit specific assets. Although it is referred to as a “last will and testament,” wills can be changed at any time as long as the new document fulfills the requirements for a valid will.

In Virginia, a will is valid if the following requirements are met:

  • The document is in writing
  • The testator (person who is writing the will) is 18 years or older
  • The document is signed by the testator in the presence of two witnesses
  • The testator is of sound mind

Important considerations

When considering your will, there are many relevant issues to consider. Only an experienced estate planner with knowledge of your specific situation can offer advice about your will, but there are some issues that are pertinent to most people.

Some of those issues include:

  • Prior marriages. Spouses and children from a previous marriage may have a claim on your estate, so they should be considered during the creation of your will.
  • The age of your heirs. If they are under 18, you may want to name a guardian for the minors as well as a trustee for their assets. In some cases, it may be a good idea to give those responsibilities to two people to avoid conflicts of interest.
  • Alternate executors, guardians, and trustees. It is a good idea to designate an alternate executor, guardian, and trustee, should your first choice be unable or unwilling to act in that role.
  • Your spouse’s will. Both spouses need to have individual wills. These wills can be changed at any time. Discussing your wills and how they will impact one another is an essential component to smart estate planning.

Don’t wait until it’s too late

Your last will and testament is one of the most important documents that you will create in your life. Trust the attorneys at Northern Virginia Trusts and Estates which have been providing high quality estate planning services to thousands of clients for over two decades in Northern Virginia, including important documents such as your last will and testament.