Losing a loved one can be difficult for any family to process. Though, in many cases, there are warning signs prior to the passing of an individual. Your loved one may become ill in the days preceding their death, allowing you for time to prepare for the scenario. However, that is not always the case. All too often accidents may take the life of a family member or friend unexpectedly. Because of these unpredictable events, it is recommended to develop a will while you are still in good health to ensure your assets are distributed according to your wishes. Each state will have their own specific laws regarding estate planning. For example purposes, this article will examine the law around probate.
The Last Will and Testament
Though, there are means of estate planning that allow for probate avoidance, a will for example, will need to be approved by the Virginia Circuit Court during probate in order to be executed. If the deceased had a residence, real estate, or estate assets in a city or county in Virginia, the Virginia Circuit Court will have jurisdiction over the probate process. If an individual dies while living in a nursing home, their legal residence will be considered the residence prior to the nursing home.
After an individual passes, their last will and testament will need to be verified as authentic by the court. In estate planning, the individual who the will belongs to is known as the testator. In order for the will to be valid, the will must be in the handwriting of the testator or an approved person under the authorization of the testator, and signed by either the testator or the approved party; this must be completed in the presence of two witnesses. In Virginia, if the court believes the will meets these requirements, it is known as a holistic will. Provided the holistic will is accompanied by a proper affidavit, the will shall be considered a self proving will and should not require the testimony of the two witnesses.
This summation of a last will and testament is brief; special circumstances arise frequently in all forms of law. Therefore, it is recommended to seek the advice of a professional estate planning attorney to aid in the process of developing your will. Contact an estate planning attorney familiar with the laws of your specific location, since laws will vary state by state. The attorney, like an estate attorney in O’Fallon, MO, may be able to help provide guidance in the formulation of your will so that it may meet the requirements of self proving will.
Thanks to our friends and contributors from Legacy Law Center for their insight into estate law.