As long as you are an independent adult with accumulated assets, now is the right time to begin planning your estate by preparing a will. None of us knows what the future holds so taking control of what we can while we can makes good sense. Once you decide to take this step, you need the wise guidance of a first-rate estate planning attorney. If you live in Virginia, you are fortunate to have access to Randall J. Borden, Attorney at Law.

Randall Borden will help you organize and protect your assets and make sure that they are inherited by those you love most. He is not a novice when it comes to preparing wills — he has more than 30 years of experience in crafting wills that are unambiguous, thoughtfully worded, and legally binding.

Legal Requirements for a Will To Be Valid in Virginia

For a will to be valid in Virginia, the testator must:

  • Be 18 years of age or older (or an emancipated minor)
  • Be of sound mind
  • Have handwritten or typed the document
  • Have two adult witnesses (in VA these witnesses cannot be the beneficiaries or fiduciaries)

It should also be noted that:

  • Although wills do not have to be notarized in either state, in both notarization is recommended.
  • In neither state are electronic, oral, or video wills considered valid.
  • Wills created in other states under the states’ laws are valid in Virginia.

Wills Serve Several Essential Purposes

In many cases, a will is the central document of an estate plan, designed to make sure that if unforeseen circumstances occur, you have made your wishes known. Having an executed will ensures that when you pass your wishes will be respected and expressly followed regarding:

Designating Your Personal Representative (Executor)

The individual you name to administer your estate will play a critical role in seeing to it that your assets are properly distributed. They will also play a significant part in helping your family navigate the challenge of losing you. Your personal representative should be chosen not just for being trustworthy or close to your heart, but for clear-headed competence during times of stress. 

Don’t forget that your representative will have to perform several tasks that are time-sensitive and require attention to detail, such as notifying all beneficiaries, paying estate bills, filing taxes, and filing your will for probate.

Naming Your Beneficiaries and Specifying What They Will Inherit

The primary reason for making a will is to name your beneficiaries and definitively state which assets you want each to receive. By stating your wishes in a witnessed legal document, you ensure that such intentions are undeniably yours, leaving no room for ambiguity or doubt. This will give you the peace of mind of knowing that the legacy you leave will be one of love and generosity, not conflict, litigation, or familial estrangement.

Protecting Your Minor Children and Securing Their Future

Every parent’s first duty is to protect and nourish their children. By creating a will you make certain your minor children will continue to be well-tended if anything happens to you and their other parent is unable to care for them. Your will is the document in which you name the person you want to be your children’s guardian. This is the person you want to care for your children in your absence, offering them the support, love, and guidance you are no longer there to provide. Remember, if you die without a will, your children’s guardian will be determined by the court and may not be the person you would have chosen. 

Facilitating the Probate Process

Because your will gives your personal representative and the court direct access to your delineated wishes, it will expedite the probate process. This will keep your beneficiaries from having to wait longer for the inheritance they may well need to see them through the difficult period following your death. 

Maintaining Control Over Your Assets

Having a will gives you the satisfaction of knowing that the hard-earned resources you have accumulated will enrich the lives of those closest to you, serving as a reminder of the deep bond you share. It is reassuring to know that your wishes will be honored and that your assets will go where you want them to go, to the people you cherish and the causes, charities, and institutions you value most.

Avoiding Intestate Succession

If you die without a will (intestate), there will be no legal record of your wishes. Therefore, you will no longer have any control over the way your property is distributed. Rather it will be distributed according to the state laws of intestate succession. These laws are strictly defined by bloodline connections, not affection or intimacy. This means that your assets may be distributed very differently from the way you desired or anticipated. For example, a cousin who is also your best friend may be ignored in favor of a sibling from whom you are estranged.

Contact Our Experienced Fairfax Will Attorney

Once you have decided to take responsibility and control by creating a will, contact Randall Borden to start on the right foot. He has in-depth knowledge of state and federal law, superior legal skills, and extensive experience to ensure that everything fits neatly into place. Get in touch with him now to discuss your concerns so that he can draft a will tailored precisely to your needs and specifications.