A will is a legal document appointing and directing an executor to dispose of your assets as you direct provided that you are of sound mind and at least eighteen years old (in Virginia) at the time you make your will. The first step in the process is thoughtful consideration of who this executor should be and a substitute executor should also be provided in the event the first chosen executor is not available at the time the will is probated. (Often husbands and wives appoint each other as executor and naming a reliable substitute is critical). Wills do not affect the passing of many types of assets, such as those owned jointly or those with survivorship designations such as life insurance policies and retirement savings accounts.
In Virginia, anyone eighteen years or older and of sound mind can make a will and it is never too early. It should not be delayed until one is facing death. At that time, there are other concerns and decisions demanding attention. If one dies without a document directing how assets should be distributed, such as a will, there are legislative provisions which dictate how possessions and assets are passed on. It may be what you would want but it may not. In death, as in life, important decisions should not be left to laws and forms which were drafted by those without your particular interest or circumstance in mind.
After making a will changes can occur in life and in laws. Estate documents such as wills and trusts should be checked for relevancy whenever there is a significant change in a life situation; if one hears of a change in laws which may affect an estate plan; or periodically approximately every five years. It is not possible for an attorney who has drafted a will to be aware of every change that would affect present and former clients. Also, wills and trusts are governed by state law. When one moves to a different state wills and other estate documents should be reviewed. For more information Email our Office.