Create and Print Your
Last Will and Testament
in 5-10 Minutes
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Single

Virginia





Create Your Last Will and Testament

Enter the name and personal information of the person the Last Will is for:


(e.g. Dallas)

Virginia

(Required)
Select the state where you live and have a permanent residence.

Louisiana: This Last Will and Testament has not been reviewed by a lawyer with experience in Louisiana law. Do not use this Last Will unless you have confirmed with a qualified lawyer that it will be valid in the State of Louisiana.


Male

Single
If you are widowed or divorced then you are considered to be single for the purpose of a Last Will.
Only the following states recognize some form of common law marriage:
Alabama, Colorado, District of Columbia, Georgia (if valid before January 1, 1997), Idaho (if valid before January 1, 1996), Iowa, Kansas, Montana, New Hampshire, Ohio (if valid before October 10, 1991), Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Texas, Utah.
Please ensure that you are considered married based on the laws of your state.

Spouse's Information


Your Spouse's Information


Married
A civil partnership is the legal relationship existing when a same-sex couple registers their partnership in accordance with the Civil Partnership Act 2004.

Male

The executor is your chosen personal representative for the administration of your estate. A spouse is a good choice for executor as long as your spouse would be able to deal with the administration of your estate.


You must select a state where you currently have a permanent residence.


Common Questions

Benefits of a Last WillA Last Will allows you to:
  • Decide who will get your property after your death;
  • Choose how your property will be divided among your various beneficiaries;
  • Give specific items of property to specific people;
  • Appoint someone you trust to administer your estate; and
  • Appoint a guardian for your minor children.
If you die without a Will, your property will be distributed by a court-appointed administrator according to statutory plans for "intestate succession." Your property will be divided among your surviving spouse, children, and possibly other relatives in whatever manner the law of your jurisdiction specifies. You will not have a chance to give property to non-relatives or to exclude relatives. Additionally, if you have no relatives, your property will go to the state rather than to a friend or charity of your choice.
Keeping my Will up to dateYou should review your Will from time to time to ensure that it still meets your needs and that your property will be distributed according to your wishes. You should consider writing a new Will on the following events:
  • You get married or divorced (a change in marital status may void your old Will);
  • You are unmarried, but have a new partner;
  • The amount of money and property you own significantly changes;
  • You move to another state (not all states recognize out-of-state Wills as valid);
  • Your executor or a significant beneficiary in your Will dies;
  • There is a birth or adoption of a child in your family;
  • You change your mind about the provisions in your Will.
Requirements for making a Last WillIn Virginia, no person (i) of unsound mind or (ii) under the age of eighteen years shall be capable of making a Last Will.Testator and Testatrix DefinitionsThe testator (male) or testatrix (female) is the person who makes a Last Will for the purpose of disposing of their property after death.Importance of my home StateLaws vary from state to state. It is important that your Last Will and Testament meets the requirements of your home state.

Your signing jurisdiction is assumed to be your home state.

Personal Representative/Executor



Executor Information

A spouse may be a good choice for executor as long as your spouse is experienced in making financial decisions regarding money and property (personal property as well as real estate) and as long as your spouse will not be overwhelmed by the situation overall.


Enter the name and information for your executor if not your spouse:

(e.g. Dallas)

Virginia







Second Executor

Enter the name and information for your second executor:

(e.g. Dallas)

Virginia




Executor

Common Questions

An executor is the person that you trust to collect your assets, pay your debts, create any trusts in the will and distribute your gifts. Your executor does NOT need to be a lawyer. It should be someone that knows your wishes. Your executor will have to hire a lawyer in any event to probate your will.

Street number not necessary.
(e.g. "Halifax, Nova Scotia")

Male

One executor is normally sufficient. If you have two executors, they must be able to AGREE on each decision to be made.

Second Executor


Street number not necessary.(e.g. "Halifax, Nova Scotia")

Male




Common Questions

Executor descriptionThe executor is the person you chose to administer your estate.Executor responsibilitiesAn executor or personal representative is responsible for collecting the assets of the estate, paying any debts of the estate, paying state and federal taxes, and then distributing the assets of the estate in accordance with the directions of the Will.Selecting an ExecutorAdministering the estate can be complex, time-consuming and stressful. Ensure you select someone you trust, who will be able to handle your financial matters prudently. Your executor does not need to have any legal expertise. An executor can always hire a lawyer should the need arise. Many people select their spouse or an adult child to be their executor. Also, people often choose an individual who will be receiving a substantial amount of property to be their executor. In this way, the executor will want to ensure that the property is distributed properly.

Usually you can choose anyone to act as executor except a minor or a convicted felon. Additionally, some jurisdictions place restrictions on non-resident executors (for example, some states specify that all non-resident executors must be related to you).
Executor also a BeneficiaryYes, your executor can also be a beneficiary (receive a gift) in your Will.

Alternate Personal Representative/Executor





Alternate Executor Information



Virginia



Male



Second Alternate Executor



Virginia



Male


Second Alternative Executor


e.g. "Halifax, Nova Scotia" (street number not necessary)

Male



Common Questions

Role of an Alternate ExecutorThe Alternate Executor will assume ALL responsibility for administering your estate if the Executor that you had selected is unable or unwilling to act or continue to act.

Children

0


Note: You must list ALL children. Any child not specifically named in your Will may have the right to claim against your Will as if no Will had been created.



Common Questions

Step-ChildrenDo not list stepchildren unless you have legally adopted them. If you want to leave something to a stepchild who is not your legal child, you can do that in the "Specific Gifts" or "Residue of Estate" sections.

Trustee





18
Substantial property cannot be passed to a child until they have reached the age of majority. In addition you may wish to withhold the transfer of title to substantial property until a young person has had a chance to mature and learn to manage their own financial matters.

As a result you may wish to set the age to receive property at 23 years or 25 years or even later depending on the maturity of the individual.


Trustee



Virginia





Common Questions

Trustee DefinitionThe trustee is the person with the authority and responsibility to manage property on behalf your minor beneficiaries until they are legally capable of managing their own affairs.Selecting a TrusteePeople usually choose the same person for trustee as they chose for executor, but you can choose a different person if you want.

If your executor does not survive you then your alternate executor will become the trustee for your minor beneficiaries.

Guardian



1
If you select more than one Guardian then the Guardians will act jointly.

(e.g. William Timothy Smith)

(e.g. "Dallas")

Virginia






Common Questions

Guardian DefinitionThe guardian is the person with the authority and responsibility to take care of your minor or dependent children.Selecting a GuardianPeople usually choose the same person for custodian or trustee as they chose for guardian, but you can choose a different person if you want.Importance of GuardiansYou do not have to appoint a guardian for your minor children. However, if you do not, the courts will decide who will look after your children. Tips for selecting a GuardianWhen appointing a guardian you may want to consider the following questions:

  • Will my proposed guardian be old enough to look after my children? (Your proposed guardian must be an adult.)
  • Does my proposed guardian have experience raising children?
  • Is my proposed guardian concerned about my child’s welfare?
  • Is my proposed guardian able to care for my child emotionally, physically and financially?
  • Does the proposed guardian have the time to take care of my children?
  • Does my child like and feel comfortable around the proposed guardian?
  • Where does my proposed guardian reside? (It may be difficult or upsetting for your child to move right after your death.)

California Prohibited Gifts

In California, the Testator cannot make a gift to a person who is considered to be in a position of trust and where this position of trust creates the potential for fraud, menace, duress, or undue influence in the preparation of this Will.

See California Probate Code section 21350 (right).

If the Testator still wishes to provide a gift to an individual in one of the above categories then this Last Will must be reviewed by an independent attorney.

A blank Certificate of Independent Review will be included with your Last Will. This is a standard form as provided by The California Probate Code section 21351.


Common Questions

California Probate Code section 21350.California Limitations on Gifts and Transfers to Drafters, Custodians and Others:

In California the Testator cannot make a gift to any of the following:
(1) The person who drafted this Last Will.
(2) Any person who is related by blood or marriage to, is a domestic partner of, is a cohabitant with, or is an employee of, the person who drafted this Last Will.
(3) Any partner or shareholder of any law partnership or law corporation in which the person who drafted this Last Will has an ownership interest, and any employee of that law partnership or law corporation.
(4) Any person in a fiduciary (trust) relationship with the Testator, including, but not limited to, a conservator or trustee, who transcribed this Last Will or caused it to be transcribed.
(5) Any person who is related by blood or marriage to, is a domestic partner of, is a cohabitant with, or is an employee of a fiduciary (a conservator or trustee) as described in paragraph (4) above.
(6) Any care custodian of a Testator where the Testator is a dependent adult.
(7) Any person who is related by blood or marriage to, is a domestic partner of, is a cohabitant with, or is an employee of, a care custodian as described in paragraph (6) above.

Review of gifts by an independent attorney who:
(1) Counsels the Testator about the nature and consequences of the intended gift;
(2) Attempts to determine if the intended consequence is the result of fraud, menace, duress, or undue influence; and
(3) Signs and delivers to the Testator an original Certificate of Independent Review with a copy delivered to the drafter.

Specific Gifts

0



Common Questions

Distributing my EstateDivide up your estate in two steps:

First: Assign specific gifts to specific people. For example you might give a classic car to a favorite nephew.

Second: What is left after you have provided specific gifts is called the remainder or residue of your estate. The residue of your estate will be divided among other people you choose. Note: A beneficiary may receive a specific gift and also share in the residue of your estate.
Specific Gift definitionA specific gift is just what it sounds like. It is a gift of a specific item of property or sum of money to a named beneficiary. For example:

  • I give my diamond engagement ring to my oldest daughter, Sally Jones.
  • I give $5000.00 to my college room-mate, James Timothy Smith.

Everything that is not given away as a specific gift forms the residue of the estate.

Make sure you describe the gift well enough that anyone reading your Will would recognize what you mean. Clearly identify the beneficiary.
"Residue of the Estate" definitionThe "residue" of your estate is everything that is left over after your debts are paid and the specific gifts have been given.Example: Specific Gifts and ResidueExample:
After your executor pays your debts, your list of remaining assets might include the following:

- 1968 classic car
- Motorboat
- House including furnishings
- Cottage in the country
- Stocks and bonds

Specific gift: You could designate your house including furnishings as a specific gift to your spouse and your 1968 classic car as a specific gift to your favorite nephew. If you do not wish to make any other specific gifts then the residue of your estate would consist of your motorboat, your cottage in the country, and your stock and bond holdings.

Residue of your estate: The residue of your estate includes all remaining assets not already given as specific gifts. If you have named more than one beneficiary for the residue of your estate then your executor may have to sell your remaining assets (in this example, your motorboat, your cottage in the country, and your stock and bond holdings) and divide the cash equally among your remaining beneficiaries according to the proportions you have indicated.
Giving to a charitable organizationYes, you can make a gift to a charitable organization. To make a specific gift to a charity, ensure that you provide the full name of the charity and for “Beneficiary’s Gender” select “Corporate”. Under “Beneficiary Address” provide the full address of the charity’s main office. Also, it is a good idea to provide an alternative beneficiary to a charitable gift in case the charity folds or no longer exists at the time of your death.What can't be given awaySome things cannot be given as gifts in a Last Will including:

1) Your spouse's property.
2) The proceeds of a life insurance policy, retirement fund, or annuity where a beneficiary is already named.
3) Jointly held property where another party has a right of survivorship.


Residue of Estate

Indicate how many beneficiaries you wish to name for the residue of your estate:

Unequal Distribution

Your Personal Representative will divide the residue of your estate into 100 equal shares and divide these shares as follows:

Total:                                                                      0 Shares
(The total must add up to 100 shares.)

The total for all children must add up to 100.00 shares.



Alternate Beneficiaries for Residue of Estate

1

First Alternate Beneficiary of Estate Residue

Your Personal Representative will divide the residue of your estate into 100 equal shares and divide these shares as follows:



Virginia



Total for all beneficiaries must add up to 100 shares.



The total for all beneficiaries must add up to 100 shares. Currently, they add up to 0 shares.

1

First Beneficiary of Estate Residue

Your Personal Representative will divide the residue of your estate into 100 equal shares and divide these shares as follows:


Enter the city and state. The street number is not necessary.
(e.g. "Dallas, Texas")

Total for all beneficiaries must add up to 100 shares.


Who will get this portion of your estate if this beneficiary dies before you?

Alternate Beneficiary


Enter the city and state. The street number is not necessary.
(e.g. "Dallas, Texas")




The total of all shares must add up to 100 shares. Currently, they add up to 0 shares.


Common Questions

"Residue of the Estate" definitionThe "residue" of your estate is everything that is left over after your debts are paid and the specific gifts have been given.

Distribution of Residue of Estate

1

First Beneficiary of Estate Residue


e.g. "Halifax, Nova Scotia" (street
number not necessary)




The total for all beneficiaries must add up to 100 shares. Currently, they add up to 0shares.



Wipeout Clause



When no named beneficiary survives you:

If none of your named beneficiaries or alternates survive you, then your Personal Representative will divide the residue of your estate into 100 equal shares and divide these shares as follows:

Parents and Siblings

1

First Wipeout Beneficiary


Enter the city and state. The street number is not necessary.
(e.g. "Dallas, Texas")




Divide your estate among your Spouse's Family

Shares to go to your spouse's family:                              100 shares
Parents and Siblings



Common Questions

Wipeout Clause definitionA wipeout clause lets you describe how you want to distribute your estate in the event that all of your named Beneficiaries die before you. Otherwise the government will decide how to distribute your estate.Role of a Wipeout ClauseIf none of your named beneficiaries or alternates survive you, then the law may treat the remainder of your estate as if you had died without leaving a Last Will. In cases where a person dies without leaving a Last Will, the law has a formula to divide assets among parents, siblings and extended family.

If it is possible that all of your immediate family (including your children and grandchildren) could predecease you or die at the same time as you in a common accident, then it is prudent to include a wipeout clause.

Forgive Debts

1

Debtor


Enter the city and state. The street number is not necessary.
(e.g. "Dallas, Texas")


Provide a description of the debt including a description of the subject of the debt (property or service) and list any dollar amounts still owing. Include the date that the original loan was made. Provide a complete description of the debt so that there will not be any confusion after you are gone.
Provide a description of the debt including the original loan date and any dollar amounts still owing. Be as specific as possible to ensure there is no confusion.
(e.g. $10,000 loaned in November, 1998 for the purchase of a house in Dallas, Texas.)





Common Questions

How forgiving a debt worksWhere the Testator is owed money at the time of death, it would be the responsibility of the executor to collect all monies owed and add this to the assets of the estate. A Testator could also elect to forgive some outstanding debts. This has a similar effect to granting a specific gift.

Remember that the person who owes the debt to the estate would have to declare the forgiven portion of the debt as taxable income (Discharge of Indebtedness Income) which would be taxable under Section 61 of the Internal Revenue Code.

Pet Guardian

1

Pet & Guardian

(e.g. Lassie)

If you have more than one pet of a similar species then you need to describe your pet more carefully to avoid any confusion. Provide a species or physical description if needed.



Enter the full name of the person you wish to act as guardian for your pet.
(e.g. Samuel Eric Thompson)

Enter the city and state. The street number is not necessary.
(e.g. "Dallas, Texas")

Enter a maximum dollar amount for pet maintenance. This amount will be paid as a one time sum to this guardian to be used for the future care, feeding and maintenance of this pet. This amount is a maximum only. Your Personal Representative will have the discretion to pay a lessor amount if appropriate.
(e.g. $1000, $2,500.)





Common Questions

Pet Guardian definitionA Pet Guardian is someone who will look after your pets after you have passed away.

Additional Clauses

- No additional instructions are necessary for most people -



1

Additional Clause





Drafting Tips

Referring to people and terms in clausesDo not use different names or words to refer to the same person or thing. This can cause confusion and ambiguity by appearing to introduce new or different people or items.

Certain words were capitalized and defined already in this document. Use the same predefined terms in your additional clauses.

Do not use pronouns such as: they, us, we, our, you, or me. Pronouns may be ambiguous and can cause confusion. e.g.:
  • Wrong: I leave my car and household furnishings to her.
  • Correct: I leave my car and household furnishings to my brother William Kenneth Smith.
Drafting clauses in plain englishPlain English means language that is simple and conveys ideas with the greatest possible clarity and avoids using legalese.

Legalistic StylePlain English
at the present time now
due to the fact that because; since
during such time aswhile
for the duration ofduring
inasmuch asbecause; since
in the event thatif
notwithstanding the fact that although; even if
prior to before
pursuant to under; in accordance with
subsequent toafter
that certaina
with reference toabout

Miscellaneous tipsDo not abbreviate words.

Use numerals, not words, to denote amounts.

Do not repeat or contradict what has already been stated.

Only put one paragraph per additional clause.

Order your additional clauses in a logical sequence.

Make sure your meaning is clear.

Spell-check your clause.
Funeral Instructions ClauseIt is not a good idea to include funeral arrangements in your Last Will. Anything you write in your Last Will concerning funeral arrangements is not binding, and there is a good possibility no one will look at your Will until after your funeral. If you do put directions for your funeral in your Will, make sure your executor and family members who will be arranging your funeral know that you have done so. You can use the Additional Clauses section to specify your funeral instructions.

Sign and Witness

Today


(e.g. Dallas)


Two
In Vermont, you need at least THREE witnesses to attest to a Last Will or Codicil.In Virginia, the signing of a Last Will must be witnessed by at least two (2) or more competent individuals.



Common Questions

Requirements for WitnessesA witness must understand what they are witnessing and must be competent to testify in court.

In Virginia, no person will be incompetent to testify for or against a Last Will or Codicil solely by reason of any interest (gift) in the Last Will or Codicil or the estate of the Testator. BUT, in most states the amount of a gift to a witness may be reduced to what the witness would have received if the Testator had died intestate.
Number of witnesses requiredIn Virginia, a Last Will or Codicil must be signed by the Testator and acknowledged by him in the presence of at least two competent witnesses, present at the same time; and those witnesses willl sign the Last Will or Codicil in the presence of the Testator.

Additional Instructions

- IMPORTANT -

Print and review the following documents:

Instructions on Executing Your Last Will.


Common Questions

Important information about witnessesIn Virginia, a Last Will or Codicil must be signed by the Testator and acknowledged by him in the presence of at least two competent witnesses, present at the same time; and those witnesses willl sign the Last Will or Codicil in the presence of the Testator.

Signing "in the presence of" means the witnesses actually watch the you sign. The Testator and the witnesses should initial the bottom right hand corner of each page of the Last Will (except the last page which is signed by everyone).

Witnesses should NOT be individuals who will be receiving gifts in the Will or the spouses of individuals receiving gifts in the Will.
Beneficiaries as witnessesA beneficiary should not be a witness to your Last Will, nor should the spouse of a beneficiary be a witness to your Last Will. Where a witness will receive a gift under the Last Will, this creates a presumption that the gift was provided under duress.

Generally, a Last Will is not invalid simply because a witness is a beneficiary to the Will. BUT, in many states the amount of a gift to a witness may be reduced to what the witness would have received if the Testator had died intestate.
Executor(s) as witnessesYes, but only if the Executor is not a beneficiary in your Will. "Self-proving Will" definitionA Self-proving Will includes an Affidavit of Execution which attests to the fact that your Will has been properly executed. Normally a witness will be required to testify in probate court that the Last Will was executed properly. Alternatively, this requirement may be satisfied by having each witness swear an oath and sign an Affidavit of Execution in front of a notary. This removes the requirement of having one of your witnesses go to court to verify proper execution. If available in your state, the required form will be included with your Last Will.Filing my Last WillYou do not have to file your Will with any court system or government body. However, you should store your Will in a safe place where your executor or personal representative will be able to locate it.