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What Do Wills Not Do?

While there are many advantages to having a will, there are some things a will simply can’t do. As an example, a will is the perfect document for parents with minor children to designate a guardian for your children, minimizing court intervention. A will is also the right estate document to designate an executor of your estate. You can also, through a will, choose to provide for specific persons who would not otherwise be provided for under Virginia state intestacy laws, such as friends, godchildren or stepchildren.

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What Happens if a Person Dies Without a Will in the State of Virginia?

People avoid having a will prepared for many reasons. Perhaps the most common reason people put off having a will prepared is simply because they don’t think they need it. People who avoid making a will for this reason probably believe they don’t have all that many assets, so the state of Virginia can reasonably be expected to divvy up those assets as they see fit. Other reasons people tend to put off having a will prepared is because they think it is complicated or too expensive or they don’t want to face their own mortality.

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There are Many Types of Wills—Which One is Best for You?

Most adults are at least somewhat aware they should have, at a minimum, a basic will. Yet 51 percent of those between ages 55-64 don’t have a will and 62 percent of those between the ages of 45-54 don’t have a will.  When you die without a will, the state gets to decide who will inherit your assets.

Generally speaking, if you have a spouse and/or children, then that’s where your assets will go. If you have minor children and die without a will, the state will choose their guardians. If you are not married and have no children, then the state will determine which relatives will inherit your assets.

If you don’t want to leave the determination of who will receive your assets to the state, then it is probably time to draft a will. Many people are inhibited by the various types of wills available. When they can’t decide which type is right for them, they simply end up doing nothing at all. An experienced estate-planning attorney can help you decide which type of will is best for your individual circumstances, particularly because not all types of wills are legal in all states. Below you will find a description of each type of will.

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