Is a Notary Needed for a Will to Be Legal in Virginia?

By Joseph Nicholson

Strictly speaking, a notary is not required for a will to be valid in Virginia. This isn’t to say that having a notary can’t be helpful. A will can be made self-proving through the work of a Virginia notary public, which eliminates the need for witnesses to validate the will during probate.

Basic Requirements

A simple will in Virginia requires a writing signed by the person making the will and at least two competent witnesses. Under Virginia law, there is no formal requirement for the part of the will the witnesses sign, but they must sign the will in the presence of the person making the will and must have witnessed her signature. According to the Virginia State Bar, no notarization is needed for any of these signatures.

Holographic Wills

Though Virginia does not recognize oral wills, it does recognize unwitnessed wills if they are wholly in the handwriting of the person making the will. So-called holographic wills do not need to bear the signature of any witnesses at all, but at least two persons who are not beneficiaries under the will must verify the handwriting in the probate court.

Protect your loved ones. Start My Estate Plan

Self-proving Wills

The value a notary can provide in the will-making process is to make it unnecessary for witnesses to provide testimony validating the will during probate. Any time subsequent to the execution of the will, the two witnesses and the person making the will can execute affidavits attesting the validity of the will before a notary public. The form of the attestation is contained in the Code of Virginia.

Capacity and Competent Witnesses

The presence of a notary does not cure defects in the capacity of the person making the will or the competency of the witnesses. To have will-making capacity under Virginia law, you must be at least 18 years old and of sound mind. Witnesses must meet the same criteria. The fact that a witness is also a beneficiary to the will does not invalidate the will or eliminate their competency to act as a witness.

Protect your loved ones. Start My Estate Plan
Are Holographic Wills Legal in Illinois?
 

References

Resources

Related articles

Is a Self Made Will Legal if Notarized?

A self-made will is legal if it meets your state's requirements for wills. All states have requirements that include having at least two witnesses and signing your will yourself. Some states allow you to notarize your will to make it "self-proving," which moves it through probate faster. However, as of December 2010, only Louisiana requires a will to be notarized.

Is it Legal to Handwrite a Will in Minnesota if You Get it Notarized?

A handwritten will may also be known as a holographic or olographic will. Some states recognize a handwritten will as valid even if it is not witnessed. In Minnesota, however, all wills must be in writing, signed by the testator and witnessed by at least two people who meet the minimum requirements for witnesses under Minnesota law. Without two witnesses, a handwritten will is not valid even if it is notarized, according to the Minnesota Probate Code.

What Is a Legal Will in the State of North Carolina?

Wills in North Carolina can take many forms, depending on the circumstances. However, for each form of will to be declared valid by a North Carolina probate court, the will must conform to the requirements of the North Carolina state code Chapter 31 for the type of will being used.

LegalZoom. Legal help is here. Start Here. Wills. Trusts. Attorney help. Wills & Trusts

Related articles

How to Contest a Will in Virginia

Under Virginia law, only interested persons can contest a will. This can be done to either invalidate portions of a ...

Virginia Statute of Wills

The statute that governs wills in Virginia is known as the Virginia Probate Code. It explains things like who can make ...

Are Notarized Wills Legal?

In all 50 U.S. states, at least two witnesses are required to make a will valid, according to MedLawPlus. However, only ...

Is a Handwritten Will Legal in Pennsylvania?

Handwritten wills have a long history in the United States, given that originally all wills were handwritten. However, ...

Browse by category
Ready to Begin? GET STARTED