If you are estate planning in Virginia, it’s important to know that every state’s requirements for wills and estate distribution are a little different. If you made an estate plan years ago in Georgia, it might not meet all state requirements if you’ve moved to retire in North Carolina. Some principles may be the same, while others may not. The best way to know for sure is to consult with an estate planning attorney who can evaluate your current estate plan.
Estate Planning In Virginia
So how is estate planning in Virginia unique? What do Virginia residents need to know about the estate plans they may already have in place? There are three unique requirements surrounding estate planning in Virginia that may affect your estate plan if you’ve moved here from a state with different regulations:
1. Stricter signatory requirements
Unlike some other states, Virginia requires two witnesses at the signing of a will.
These witnesses need to sign an affidavit in front of a notary certifying that they witnessed the will’s execution, or else they need to be available when you die to testify they witnessed you sign the will. Handwritten (holographic) wills are an exception to this rule, but they must be written completely by the maker’s own hand. Many states have fewer requirements than Virginia, so a will that is legitimate in another state might not be valid here.
2. No separate state estate tax
Virginia, unlike many other states, does not have a state estate tax or an inheritance tax, which means going through the probate process is not as costly as it is in some other states. There is a federal estate tax, however, as of right now it only applies to individuals with more than $10 Million in assets or couples with more than $20 Million in assets.
3. No probate required if personal property is worth less than $50,000
Estate planning in Virginia can be easier for some people because the state allows you to skip the probate process if the estate is worth less than $50,000.00. If you fall into this category, you can use a Small Estate Affidavit instead. While there are several additional requirements to use this Affidavit, the $50,000 limit is much higher than in other states, meaning more people can take advantage of it.
If you’re a Virginia resident and you need to update your estate plan, schedule your free consultation today.