Every state’s requirements for wills and estate distribution is 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. A nuisance, right? Right. But it’s important for you to know how the state you’re currently living and may die in is going to affect your estate.
Estate Planning In Virginia
So in regard to our state, how is estate planning in Virginia unique, and what do Virginia residents need to know about the estate plans they may already have in place?
There are three main requirements surrounding estate planning in Virginia, which 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 estate tax
Virginia, unlike many other states, does not have an 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 that applies in all states, but 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 is required if your 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 and 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.
If you’re a Virginia resident who needs to update their will, click here to request your free consultation. We’d love to meet you and see how we can help you make the necessary changes.