Estate Planning

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Reston Will Lawyer 

Expert Legal Guidance for Will Creation and Estate Planning

Crafting a will is one of the most crucial steps you can take to secure the future of your loved ones and protect your assets. At Zell Law, our experienced team of legal professionals understands the importance of having a comprehensive and legally binding will. With our expertise, we are dedicated to guiding our clients through creating a will that accurately reflects their wishes and safeguards their legacy. 

Call Zell Law today at (571) 410-3500 or contact us online to schedule a meeting with our will attorney in Reston!

What is a Will?

A will, also known as a last will, is a legal document that outlines how a person's assets and property should be distributed after passing. It allows individuals to specify their beneficiaries and designate who will inherit specific possessions, financial assets, and real estate. Additionally, a will empowers individuals to nominate guardians for underage children and establish provisions for the support and care of dependents.

Creating a will is crucial for individuals of all ages and backgrounds, regardless of the size of their estate. Without a valid will, the distribution of assets may be determined by state laws, which may not align with your wishes. By working with a skilled Reston wills lawyer, you can confirm that your assets are distributed according to your preferences and minimize the potential for disputes among heirs.

Requirements for a Valid Will in Virginia

To make a will legal in Virginia, specific requirements must be met:

  • Legal Capacity: The testator must be at least 18 years old and mentally capable. The testator should clearly understand their property and how they want it distributed in the will.
  • Written Document: A valid will in Virginia must be in writing. It can be handwritten (holographic will) or typewritten, but it must be on paper.
  • Signature: The testator must sign the will at the bottom or end of the document. If the testator cannot sign, they can direct someone else to sign in their presence and direction.
  • Witnesses: The testator's will requires two capable witnesses. These witnesses must sign the will in the presence of the testator and each other.
  • Testamentary Intent: The will must demonstrate the testator's intention to distribute their property after death. It should clearly state how they want their assets distributed and identify their chosen beneficiaries.

It is important to note that Virginia does not recognize oral or nuncupative wills (verbal wills) except in minimal circumstances, such as for military personnel in active service or mariners at sea.

What are the Benefits of a Will?

There are many advantages to having a will, including:

  • Asset Distribution: Your will serves as a blueprint for how your assets will be allocated among your loved ones, ensuring your intentions are clear and minimizing confusion. Whether you wish to bestow specific gifts or evenly divide your estate, a will provides certainty and peace of mind.
  • Guardianship Designation: Especially pertinent for parents with minor children, a will allows you to nominate guardians who will undertake the responsibility for your children in the event of your demise. By designating guardians within your will, you can guarantee that your children are entrusted to individuals whose values and beliefs align with yours, fostering peace of mind.
  • Estate Tax Reduction: Effective estate planning, which includes drafting a will, can mitigate the tax liabilities on your estate, thereby optimizing the assets passed on to your beneficiaries. Our adept Reston lawyers possess expertise in tax laws and can offer guidance on strategies to diminish estate taxes and safeguard your wealth for future generations.
  • Avoiding Intestacy: Without a valid will, your estate may be subject to intestacy laws dictating asset distribution in cases where no will exists. By establishing a will, you retain authority over allocating your assets, circumventing the uncertainty and potential conflicts inherent in intestacy laws. 
  • Peace of Mind for Reston Residents: Above all, having a will delivers peace of mind, knowing that your wishes will be carried out and your loved ones will be taken care of according to your desires. Taking proactive steps to plan for the future can alleviate stress and ensure a smooth estate transition.

DIY Wills in Virginia: What You Need to Know

In Virginia, individuals can draft their own will, commonly called a "holographic will." While the law doesn't mandate notarization, including a "Self-Proving Affidavit" in the will is highly advisable. Opting for notarization can streamline the court acceptance process, potentially bypassing the need for witness testimony.

However, it's crucial to understand that Virginia's guidelines for a valid holographic will are stringent. Mistakes or oversights could result in complications or invaliding the will. For instance, two impartial witnesses must verify that the will is composed entirely in the testator's handwriting.

Contact Our Reston Will Attorney Today

Preparing a will is a crucial step in safeguarding the well-being of your loved ones and preserving the protection of your assets. At Zell Law, our devoted team is steadfastly committed to assisting you in drafting a thorough and legally sound will that faithfully represents your intentions. Through our specialized knowledge and tailored guidance, we endeavor to secure your legacy and offer you the assurance you deserve.

Contact Zell Law today to meet with our will lawyer in Reston!

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