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Creating a will is one of the most important parts of estate planning because it helps ensure your property and assets go to your heirs according to your wishes. For your will to be valid in Virginia, it must follow state laws. Once you create a will that meets legal requirements, it is valid until you revoke it or supersede it by creating a new will.

You may get information on the legal requirements for wills from the Virginia State Bar. According to the Virginia Bar, you may make a will as long as you are mentally competent and over 18 years old. You may use your will to give instructions on property distribution, to name a guardian for your children and to appoint an executor to manage your estate. You may also use your will to create a trust to cover expenses related to the care and education of your children.

Once you create your will, you must get two competent adult witnesses to sign it. There is an exception to this requirement; you do not need to get anyone else’s signature if you write your entire will in your own handwriting and then sign and date it. State law does not require you to get your will notarized, but you may choose to do so.

You may change your will at any time because it does not go into effect until after your death. If you want to change the terms of your will, you may make an amendment through a codicil. You may also simply destroy your existing will and create a new one in its place.

This general information is intended to educate and should not be taken as legal advice.