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Virginia Estate Planning



To create a last will and testament in Virginia, you must be at least 18 years old and "of sound mind." But you shouldn't limit your estate planning to just a will. An estate planning attorney can help assess your situation and determine estate planning documents that are appropriate for you.

Among the more common estate planning tools:

  • Last will and testament: Contains instructions for how your assets should be distributed to your heirs after your death. Also used to name an executor to carry out the instructions in the will and to name a legal guardian to care for your minor children.
  • Living trust: Used in place of or in addition to the last will and testament as an alternative way of distributing assets after your death. Offers greater speed and more privacy compared to a will because a living trust bypasses the probate system.
  • Financial power of attorney: Used to empower an attorney in fact to perform certain legal and financial tasks—such as signing contracts, paying bills and discussing your taxes with the IRS—on your behalf.
  • Healthcare power of attorney: Used to authorize a surrogate to make medical decisions on your behalf if you're incapacitated and unable to communicate.
  • Living will: Explains your end-of-life treatment wishes, including instructions pertaining to life support, pain medicine and artificial resuscitation.

When Do You Need a Last Will & Testament?

Every Virginia resident who is at least 18 years old and mentally competent should have a last will and testament. A will is particularly important if:

  • You have minor children
  • You have an estate, or property of value such as financial accounts, real estate or other valuables
  • You provide financial report to people other than your spouse and minor children, and want to ensure that support continues after you pass away
  • You're a business owner
  • You don't want your estate distributed according to Virginia intestacy laws, which are used to determine how to distribute an estate if someone dies without a will

Find & Hire Local Virginia Estate Planning Attorneys

Whether you live in Richmond, Arlington, Norfolk, Newport News, Virginia Beach or elsewhere in the state, Attorneys.com can help you quickly locate nearby estate planning lawyers and probate attorneys. To use our free lawyer referral service, call us at 877-913-7222 or fill out the form on this page.