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Virginia Will Basics: An Overview of a Last Will and Testament

A Last Will and Testament ("will") is a written declaration by which an individual, the 'Testator,' allocates how they would like their real and personal property to be distributed and to what beneficiaries upon their death. The will may also designate an administrator, guardian, or conservator to manage different portions of the estate. A will is an essential document in estate planning and it is often recommended that a will be part of an estate plan even if you use a Trust as the estate's principal document.

If an individual has a will at their death, then they are considered to have passed away 'testate;' in other words, with a will. When an individual's will is discovered upon the death of that individual, it is submitted to the court for probate. At which point, the court will appoint the estate administrator named in the will, if there is no administrator named in the will, the court will appoint the estate administrator on its own. The estate administrator will then need to prove that it is a valid will and that it was intended as the decedent's last will and testament. A skilled will lawyer can expedite this process by knowing the state probate laws and by drafting documents to assist in the probate of the will (i.e., self-proving affidavit).

To see if you qualify for a free consultation with a wills lawyer, contact McClanahan Powers by e-mail or phone at 703-520-1326. All calls and e-mails are returned within 24 business hours.

Virginia Probate Consideration When Drafting a Last Will and Testament

Probate can be a costly and an extremely lengthy process. This is exasperated for individuals who have property in multiple states. If that is the case, the individual may have to probate the will in each state court where they have property, to be probated under the will, through a process known as ‘ancillary probate.’ However, not all property needs to be probated. An experienced estate planner can factor the location of the property into a custom-tailored estate plan. For example, the attorney may allocate for property in another state to be transferred using a trust instrument that would avoid probate, and thus, avoid Ancillary Probate. Because of the complexity of estate planning, including property allocation, it is essential to consult an experienced will and trust lawyer.

For more information regarding Wills in Virginia, please see Types of Virginia Wills and Virginia Self-Approving Affidavit.

Contact McClanahan Powers to see if you qualify for free Virginia Wills Consultation

To see if you qualify for a free Fairfax County, Virginia wills consultation, please call McClanahan Powers at 703-520-1326. Or, to send an e-mail, please complete and submit the online form on this website. Flexible appointment times and payment options are available.