If you live in Virginia, executing your Will is now easier than ever. Thanks to the modernization of estate planning laws, you now have the option of creating your Will conveniently online! This should create even less of a reason to delay the process of getting your affairs in order. Putting your Will in place will give you peace of mind knowing that you’ve protected yourself and your loved ones. You’re empowering yourself and taking control in making sure not to leave important life matters up to chance.
With that said, it’s very important to satisfy the requirements set forth by Virginia statutes. This is because estate planning rules are state-specific, although the process is pretty similar across the nation. If you plan to make an online Will in Virginia, then take care to satisfy the specific requirements to ensure the validity of your Will. Trust & Will goes over everything you need to know about making a valid online Will in the Old Dominion.
What You Need to Know About Making a Will Online in Virginia
The process of creating a valid Will in Virginia is determined by state statutes. The laws regarding the execution of a Will can be found in the Code of Virginia, Title 64.2 Wills, Trusts, and Fiduciaries, § 64.2-403. Execution of wills; requirements.
An online Will is recognized by Virginia probate courts so long as the above-cited legal requirements are satisfied. Trust & Will breaks down these legal requirements over the next several sections by answering some frequently asked questions on the topic.
How Much Does a Will Cost in Virginia?
On average, you can expect to spend roughly $300 to $1,000 on a Will in Virginia. These are estimates that vary depending on three factors: method of execution, attorney fees, and complexity of the estate.
For example, an individual with a particularly robust or complex estate plan with special provisions may hire one of the most experienced estate planning attorneys in the state. This person’s estate planning costs will likely be in the higher range. The cost may even rise to several thousand dollars if they wish to establish a Trust.
However, most individuals have a relatively simple estate with straightforward objectives. Trust & Will’s online estate planning platform provides Virginia residents with an affordable alternative. You can create your state-specific online Will through our platform at a fraction of the cost.
Are Online Wills Legal in Virginia?
Yes, both online Wills and eWills are legal in Virginia.
In 2021, the Old Dominion passed Senate Bill 1435 stating that Testators could now execute their Wills electronically as long as they met the requirements. The law is an adoption of the Uniform Law Commission’s Uniform Electronic Wills Act (UEWA).
This means that not only can residents of the Commonwealth create their Wills online, they may also witness, execute, and notarize their Wills electronically. Prior to this bill, a Will could be created online but still had to be printed on paper to be signed, and witnessed physically. Today, an eWill can remain in its digital format from end to end, never having to be reduced to paper.
With this exciting news in mind, here are the legal requirements for making an online Will:
You must be at least 18 years old
You must be of sound mind
The Will must be in writing (not oral)
You must sign the Will before two competent witnesses
For electronic or digital-only Wills, the above legal requirements remain unchanged. To make a valid eWill in Virginia, the Testator and the witnesses must acknowledge the Will before a notary public, who can serve as one of the witnesses.
Can I Write My Own Will in VA?
Yes, you can write your own Will in Virginia. Individuals can write their own Will, called a holographic Will, so long as the Will itself (material provisions), date, and signature are all in the Testator’s own handwriting. Two disinterested witnesses must be able to verify your handwriting in court.
However, writing your Will on your own may leave you vulnerable to errors and pitfalls that could render your wishes legally unenforceable. Instead, we highly recommend obtaining professional estate planning support. Some individuals choose not to work with an attorney for specific reasons, such as wanting to keep their private information to themselves, or finding attorney fees cost-prohibitive.
Whatever the reason may be, an alternative solution to consider is creating a Will using a trustworthy platform. For example, Trust & Will’s estate planning platform offers state-specific estate plans so you can have peace of mind knowing that your Will is compliant in Virginia and will satisfy your desired objectives. We also offer bank-level security to protect your private information.
What Makes a Will Valid in Virginia?
The following outlines the legal requirements for a valid online Will in Virginia:
The Will must be in writing.
The Testator (the person writing the Will) must be at least 18 years old and be of sound mind.
The Will must be signed by the Testator before two witnesses (may be before a notary public in the case of an eWill.)
Must be signed by two competent witnesses.
Can I File a Will Without an Attorney in Virginia?
Yes, you can file a Will without an attorney in Virginia. Generally speaking, Old Dominion laws do not require you to hire a lawyer to create or execute a valid Will. However, you may want to consult an estate planning professional for advice if you have a large estate or special conditions that you wish to meet.
Otherwise, making your Will online is a reliable and convenient option. This is especially so when your wishes are straightforward and your estate is relatively simple. Trust & Will’s online estate planning platform will guide you through the process of creating and executing a Will that is compliant in your state.
How Do I Sign an Online Will in Virginia?
Here are the steps to follow for signing and finalizing your online Will in Virginia:
Print out your Will unless it is electronic
Sign your Will in the presence of two witnesses (can be an electronic signature)
Have your two witnesses sign the Will in your presence
Attach a notarized affidavit to make your Will self-proving.
Once you complete the steps above, you will have a legal and valid Will in Virginia.
If you choose to execute an electronic Will in Virginia, then you will affix your digital or electronic signature to the Will in the physical or remote presence of a notary public, who can serve as one of your two witnesses.
Do Virginia Wills Need to be Notarized?
No, Virginia Wills do not need to be notarized, unless it is an electronic Will. If you are executing an eWill, then Virginia laws require you to sign it before a notary, who can also serve as one of your two witnesses if you wish. Otherwise, while notarization is optional, it’s an encouraged step to make your Will “self-proving.”
During the notarization (online or physical), you and your witnesses will confirm your identities and make sworn statements. An affidavit is signed, notarized, and attached to the Will. This process proves that the notary knows who you are and confirms that each person was aware that they were signing the Will.
If the Will is self-proving, then the probate court won’t have to call upon the witnesses to testify regarding the Will’s validity. This can help minimize potential issues and allow the probate process to proceed more quickly.
Now that the Commonwealth of Virginia has enabled the recognition of both eWills and remote online notarization (RON), getting your Will notarized is even easier. Trust & Will has partnered with Notarize, a trusted online notary service to allow for the seamless notarization of eWills online.
Who Can Witness a Will in Virginia?
Any generally competent adult can witness a Will in Virginia. While there is technically no age requirement, it is generally recommended that your witnesses are over the age of 18.
Regardless of state law, any Testator should be careful not to select a beneficiary (interested party) as a witness. This is because of potential conflicts of interest that could lead to future challenges or claims against the validity of the Will, which can further delay the probate process, or worse, invalidate your Will. It is generally advised to select a disinterested party as a witness, even if your state’s regulations don’t expressly forbid it.
How to Create Virginia Last Will and Testament Online
Virginia recognizes eWills, making the online Will creation process even more seamless. Once you create your Will, you no longer have to print it out if you wish to maintain an electronic or digital format. This will provide a much more convenient and affordable alternative to estate planning the traditional way.
With this in mind, here is an overview of the steps of creating an online Will in Virginia:
Select a trusted online estate planning platform, service, or template.
Draft your Will
Review and finalize your Will
Sign the Will (digital signature allowed) in the presence of two witnesses
Obtain signatures from your witnesses
Get your Will notarized if you want it to be self-proving or if you are executing an eWill (electronic/remote allowed)
Store your Will in a secure storage space online, such as a digital vault
Review and revise your Will regularly
In the case of an eWill, the Virginia requires residents to sign their Will before a notary public. The notary can serve as one of the two witnesses.
What Can I Include in an Online Will in Virginia?
Here are some ideas on what can be included in your online Will:
An inventory of your property and assets
A list of your Beneficiaries
Gifts made to specific individuals or organizations
Your nominated Executor who should handle your estate
A Guardian for any minor or dependent children (or pets)
A named individual to manage property for dependent children
Last wishes regarding your remains, funeral, burial, cremation, etc.
Any final instructions or notes for loved ones
The contents of a Last Will and Testament vary widely based on an individual’s personal circumstances, as well as the objectives they wish to achieve. Must estate planning platforms such as Trust & Will will guide you through a series of questions and prompts to help create a Will customized to your unique needs.
H2: Create Your Online Will in Virginia Today
Virginia is one of several U.S. states that allows its residents to create both online Wills and electronic Wills. Online Wills are Wills that are created online, but are eventually printed on paper for signing and witnessing. Electronic Wills remain in digital format from start to finish, and are never reduced to paper. They utilize audio-visual conferencing tools and electronic signatures.
Regardless of the method you choose, one thing remains unchanged. The key to successfully creating an online Will in Virginia is making sure that you satisfy state-specific requirements. Creating your Will online, no matter your location, is a convenient and affordable alternative to working with an estate planning attorney. This guide provided an overview of the online Will requirements in the Old Dominion State that you should be aware of.
At Trust & Will, we’re here to help keep things simple. You can create a fully customizable, state-specific estate plan from the comfort of your own home in just 20 minutes. Take our free quiz to see where you should get started, or compare our different estate planning and settlement options today!
Trust & Will is an online service providing legal forms and information. We are not a law firm and we do not provide legal advice.