Fairfax, VA Probate Blog

Monday, February 23, 2015

Probate 101: Was the Will Executed Properly?

If you are an Executor and you have a Will that you believe is invalid or otherwise questionable, please contact a probate and estate administration attorney ASAP. Its critical, if possible, to contact the attorney before communicating with the probate clerk or the court. Otherwise, you may create an unnecessary and expensive problem.   

The most difficult document to execute properly is a Last Will & Testament. Because Wills may pass a lifetime of earnings to a person's most cherished loved ones, it is also one of the most important. Amazingly, many people fail to execute a Last Will & Testament or fail to hire an attorney to draft the Will. 

If you have a Will executed from a form book, or online, you should have the Will reviewed by an attorney before beginning the probate process. Below kindly find the basic requirements for executing a Will in Virginia.

Last Will & Testament Execution Requirements

No will shall be valid unless it is in writing and signed by the testator, or by some other person in the testator's presence and by his direction, in such a manner as to make it manifest that the name is intended as a signature.

Holographic Wills

A will wholly in the testator's handwriting is valid without further requirements, provided that the fact that a will is wholly in the testator's handwriting and signed by the testator is proved by at least two disinterested witnesses.

Non-Holographic Wills

A will not wholly in the testator's handwriting is not valid unless the signature of the testator is made, or the will is (i) acknowledged by the testator, (ii) in the presence of at least two competent witnesses, (iii) who are present at the same time and (iv) who subscribe the will in the presence of the testator. No form of attestation of the witnesses shall be necessary.

Failure to duly execute a Last Will & Testament in accordance with the aforementioned requirements may result in the Will being invalid. Sometimes a Will that fails to satisfy the requirements may be saved, but the costs in doing so may be exorbitant.

The Lenzi Law Firm, PLLC assists clients throughout Northern Virginia and Washington D.C. including Fort Washington, Falls Church, Ft. Myer, Vienna, Rosslyn, Springfield, Mount Vernon, Annandale, Fort Belvoir, Fairfax, Dunn Loring, Merrifield, McLean, Oakton, Reston, Burke, Great Falls, Fredericksburg, Stafford and Herndon in Arlington County, Alexandria County, & Fairfax County.

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