No one likes to think about having a Last Will and Testament drawn up, but everyone will need one at some point in time. More often than not, if you are under the age of 50 and don’t have a large amount of property and valuable assets, a simple will is best for you. Later in life as you acquire more, you may want to consider additional planning.
If you choose to not have a Last Will and Testament, then the State will determine who receives your belongings when you pass. If you have any assets, property, or children, then you should have a Last Will and Testament. The Last Will and Testament can let your heirs know what you wanted to have done with your property and who should take care of your children when you are gone.
A lawyer can help you properly draft a Last Will and Testament so that it will be accepted by the probate court, saving your loved ones time and money. A Last Will and Testament done by a lawyer should have witnesses, notary seals and a self proving affidavit. All of these things help your Last Will and Testament move through he probate process more quickly, but all that is required of a Last Will and Testament in Virginia is a writing with testamentary language that is dated and signed by the testator.
There are some assets that do not pass through a Last Will and Testament. If you own a house with another person and it is titled “with rights of survivorship” then it will automatically pass to the joint owner upon your death.
If you have a bank account with a ‘pay on death’ clause, then it will pass automatically upon death. If you have a life insurance policy that has a stated beneficiary, then that too will pass outside of a Last Will and Testament.