Virginia Beach Wills Lawyer
Safeguarding Your Legacy and Looking Out for the Ones You Love
Estate planning is a comprehensive process that utilizes a variety of legal tools to ensure that your assets and wishes are effectively taken care of after you are gone. One of the cornerstone elements of estate planning is a Last Will and Testament. If you don’t yet have a will or if it’s time to amend your existing will or create a new one, The Law Office of Angela N. Manz is here to guide you through the process. Our estate planning Master Counselor and our entire team will take the time to understand your needs and desires, explain your options, and craft a solid legal document that achieves your goals. Reach out to our experienced Virginia Beach wills lawyers so we can get started today.
What Is a Will?
A will is a legal document that articulates your desires regarding the distribution of your assets and the care of any minor children. Whether you own vast properties or have modest possessions, having a will ensures that your hard-earned assets are distributed according to your preferences.
The Many Important Functions of a Will
You probably know that a will directs the distribution of your estate after your passing, but a will can accomplish other important purposes as well. Below are some of the main reasons why a will is an essential component of your estate plan.
- Control Over Asset Distribution: Without a will, the distribution of your assets is determined by the laws of Virginia, known as intestate succession. These laws seek to pass your estate on to any living relatives the commonwealth can find, no matter how distantly related. If none are found, your property goes to the state. Although most people want to leave their property to relatives, the Virginia laws of intestate succession might not necessarily align with your wishes.
- Guardianship of Minor Children: If you have children under 18, your will can specify who you want to serve as their guardian, ensuring they’re taken care of by individuals you trust. As much as we wish to avoid thinking about the unthinkable, you’ll be relieved knowing you have done your part to ensure the well-being of your kids.
- Designating an Executor: A will allows you to select an executor (personal representative) who will oversee the process of settling your estate. Without a will, the court would decide who to appoint to act as the representative of your estate. By choosing a trusted individual, you ensure that your wishes are executed smoothly and efficiently.
- Reducing Family Conflicts: Clearly defining your intentions in a will can minimize potential disputes among surviving family members. When a will is absent, it invites arguments and confusion and puts an extra burden on grieving family members that could have been avoided.
Components of a Valid Will in Virginia
To ensure that your will is legally recognized in Virginia Beach, certain requirements need to be met:
- Testator’s Age and Capacity: The person making the will, called the testator, must be at least 18 years old (or an emancipated minor) and of sound mind.
- Writing Requirement: A valid will in Virginia must be in writing. A “writing” generally refers to typewritten wills. While handwritten wills, known as holographic wills, can be accepted in Virginia, they often face challenges in probate courts.
- Witnesses: Two competent witnesses should be present during the signing of the will, and they must also sign the will. Even a holographic will must generally be witnessed to be valid.
- Signature: The testator should sign the will, or it can be signed by someone else in the testator’s presence and at their direction if the testator is unable to sign it.
Reviewing and Updating Your Will
It is a great relief once a will is done to put it away and consider the job done. Yet circumstances change, and your will might need to change with them. That’s why a crucial aspect of estate planning is ensuring that your will stays up-to-date with changing circumstances. Major life events like marriage, the birth of a child, divorce, or acquiring significant assets can create the need for revisions. Regularly reviewing and updating your will ensures it accurately reflects your current wishes.
Seek Guidance From a Dedicated Virginia Beach Estate Planning Attorney
Executing a will involves detailed knowledge of a large section of Virginia statutes and case law. Moreover, a will is a vital part of your overall estate plan that cannot be overlooked, but a will by itself does not accomplish everything a comprehensive estate plan should. You will also want to have one or more advance directives in place, including a power of attorney and HIPAA authorization, and you’ll likely benefit from a revocable living trust as well.
Working with an experienced attorney helps ensure that your will and other estate planning tools are aligned with Virginia laws and that all the documents you create come together for a complete and effective estate plan. In Virginia Beach, The Law Office of Angela N. Manz provides the guidance and technical assistance necessary to give you peace of mind, knowing that your legacy is safeguarded.
A will is more than just a document—it’s a statement of your desires, a reflection of your life’s work, and a crucial step in safeguarding the future of your loved ones. Ensure that your last wishes are respected and effectively implemented by investing time and thought into your will and collaborating with a trusted Virginia Beach wills attorney at The Law Office of Angela N. Manz.