Virginia Statute of Wills

By A.L. Kennedy

The statute that governs wills in Virginia is known as the Virginia Probate Code. It explains things like who can make a valid will in Virginia and what a valid Virginia will must contain. Understanding the basics of the Virginia statute of wills included in the Virginia Probate Code can help to ensure that your Virginia will follows the law.

Eligibility

Virginia law requires that a person making a Virginia will is at least 18 years old and "of sound mind," according to the Virginia Probate Code. An eligible person may leave his property to anyone he chooses. This includes property that the person will not legally own until after his death or a date after the will is probated, according to the Virginia Probate Code.

Basic Requirements

A Virginia will must be signed by the testator, or the person making the will. If the will is written entirely in the handwriting of the testator -- called a "holographic" will -- the will is considered valid in Virginia when the testator signs it. If the will is partially or entirely typed or printed, however, it is not valid until it is also signed by at least two witnesses, according to the Virginia Probate Code.

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Soldiers, Seamen and Nonresidents

The Virginia Probate Code allows the wills of Virginia soldiers and seamen, as well as the wills of residents of states other than Virginia, to be probated in Virginia courts as long as the wills meet the requirements for a valid will in Virginia. In the case of servicemembers, a testamentary paper that meets the requirements of the federal Soldiers' and Sailors' Relief Act of 1940 is considered a valid will in Virginia, according to the Virginia Probate Code.

Revocation

The Virginia Probate Code states that, if the testator wants to revoke a valid Virginia will in part or in whole, she can do so if she "cuts, tears, burns, obliterates, cancels or destroys" the will, her signature or any part of the will. The probate court will then assume that the entire will or the destroyed part has been revoked. A new will does not automatically revoke an old will in Virginia unless the new will specifically says that it revokes any older wills, according to the Virginia Probate Code.

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