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Last Will and Testament

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Your Last Will and Testament

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Last Will and Testament Page of
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LAST WILL AND TESTAMENT OF __________________________

I, __________________________, presently of ________________________, Virginia, declare that this is my Last Will and Testament.


  1. PRELIMINARY DECLARATIONS
  2. Prior Wills and Codicils
  3. I revoke all prior Wills and Codicils.
  4. Marital Status
  5. I am not married.
  6. Current Children
  7. I do not have any living children.
  8. The term 'child' or 'children' as used in this Will includes the above listed children and any children of mine that are subsequently born or legally adopted.
  9. EXECUTOR
  10. Definition
  11. The expression 'my Executor' used throughout this Will includes either the singular or plural number, or the masculine or feminine gender as appropriate wherever the fact or context so requires. The term 'executor' in this Will is synonymous with and includes the terms 'personal representative' and 'executrix'.
  12. Appointment
  13. I appoint __________________________ of __________________________, Virginia as the sole Executor of this Will.
  14. No bond or other security of any kind will be required of any Executor appointed in this Will.
  15. Powers of My Executor
  16. I give and appoint to my Executor the following duties and powers with respect to my estate:
    1. To pay my legally enforceable debts, funeral expenses and all expenses in connection with the administration of my estate and the trusts created by my Will as soon as convenient after my death. If any of the real property devised in my Will remains subject to a mortgage at the time of my death, then I direct that the devisee taking that mortgaged property will take the property subject to that mortgage and that the devisee will not be entitled to have the mortgage paid out or resolved from the remaining assets of the residue of my estate;
    2. To take all legal actions to have the probate of my Will completed as quickly and simply as possible, and as free as possible from any court supervision, under the laws of the Commonwealth of Virginia;
    3. To retain, exchange, insure, repair, improve, sell or dispose of any and all personal property belonging to my estate as my Executor deems advisable without liability for loss or depreciation;
    4. To invest, manage, lease, rent, exchange, mortgage, sell, dispose of or give options without being limited as to term and to insure, repair, improve, or add to or otherwise deal with any and all real property belonging to my estate as my Executor deems advisable without liability for loss or depreciation;
    5. To purchase, maintain, convert and liquidate investments or securities, and to vote stock, or exercise any option concerning any investments or securities without liability for loss;
    6. To open or close bank accounts;
    7. To maintain, continue, dissolve, change or sell any business which is part of my estate, or to purchase any business if deemed necessary or beneficial to my estate by my Executor;
    8. To maintain, settle, abandon, sue or defend, or otherwise deal with any lawsuits against my estate;
    9. To employ any lawyer, accountant or other professional; and
    10. Except as otherwise provided in this Will, to act as my Trustee by holding in trust the share of any minor beneficiary, and to keep such share invested, pay the income or capital or as much of either or both as my Executor considers advisable for the maintenance, education, advancement or benefit of such minor beneficiary and to pay or transfer the capital of such share or the amount remaining of that share to such beneficiary when he or she reaches the age of majority or, during the minority of such beneficiary, to pay or transfer such share to any parent or guardian of such beneficiary subject to like conditions and the receipt of any such parent or guardian discharges my Executor.
  17. The above authority and powers granted to my Executor are in addition to any powers and elective rights conferred by state or federal law or by other provision of this Will and may be exercised as often as required, and without application to or approval by any court.

  18. DISPOSITION OF ESTATE
  19. Distribution of Residue
  20. To receive any gift or property under this Will a beneficiary must survive me for thirty (30) days. Beneficiaries of my estate residue will receive and share all of my property and assets not specifically bequeathed or otherwise required for the payment of any debts owed, including but not limited to, expenses associated with the probate of my Will, the payment of taxes, funeral expenses or any other expense resulting from the administration of my Will. The entire estate residue is to be divided between my designated beneficiaries with the beneficiaries receiving a share of the entire estate residue.  All property given under this Will is subject to any encumbrances or liens attached to the property.
  21. I direct my Executor to distribute the residue of my estate as follows ("Share Allocations"):
    1. All of the residue of my estate to __________________________ of __________________________, , for their own use absolutely.
  22. Wipeout Provision
  23. Should all my named beneficiaries predecease me, or fail to survive me for thirty (30) full days, then I direct my Executor to divide any remaining residue of my estate into one hundred (100) equal shares and to pay and transfer such shares as follows:
    1. 100 shares to be divided equally between my parents and siblings, or the survivors thereof, for their own use absolutely, if all or any of them is then alive. If any of these beneficiaries shall die before becoming entitled, in accordance with the terms of this Will, to receive the whole of his or her share of my estate, but such beneficiary has a child or children which survive me, that beneficiary shall be deemed to have survived me for the purposes of this distribution.

  24. TESTAMENTARY TRUST
  25. Testamentary Trust For Minor Beneficiaries
  26. It is my intent to create a testamentary trust (the "Testamentary Trust") for each minor beneficiary named in this Will. I name my Executor(s) as trustee (the "Trustee") of any and all Testamentary Trusts required in this Will. Any assets bequeathed, transferred, or gifted to a minor beneficiary named in this Will are to be held in a separate trust by the Trustee until that minor beneficiary reaches the designated age. Any property left by me to any minor beneficiary in this Will shall be given to my Executor(s) to be managed until that minor beneficiary reaches the age of majority.
  27. Trust Administration
  28. The Trustee shall manage the Testamentary Trust as follows:
    1. The assets and property will be managed for the benefit of the minor until the minor reaches the age set by me for final distribution;
    2. Upon the minor reaching the age set by me for final distribution, all property and assets remaining in the trust will be transferred to the minor beneficiary as quickly as possible; and
    3. Until the minor beneficiary reaches the age set by me for final distribution, my Trustee will keep the assets of the trust invested and pay the whole or such part of the net income derived therefrom and any amount or amounts out of the capital that my Trustee may deem advisable to or for the support, health, maintenance, education, or benefit of that minor beneficiary.
  29. The Trustee may, in the Trustee's discretion, invest and reinvest trust funds in any kind of real or personal property and any kind of investment, provided that the Trustee acts with the care, skill, prudence and diligence, considering all financial and economic considerations, that a prudent person acting in a similar capacity and familiar with such matters would use.
  30. No bond or other security of any kind will be required of any Trustee appointed in this Will.
  31. Trust Termination
  32. The Testamentary Trust will end after any of the following:
    1. The minor beneficiary reaching the age set by me for final distribution;
    2. The minor beneficiary dies; or
    3. The assets of the trust are exhausted through distributions.
  33. General Trust Provisions
  34. The expression 'my Trustee' used throughout this Will includes either the singular or plural number, or the masculine or feminine gender as appropriate wherever the fact or context so requires.

    (1) Powers of Trustee

    To carry out the terms of my Will, I give my Trustee the following powers to be used in his or her discretion at any time in the management of a trust created hereunder, namely:

    1. The power to make such expenditures as are necessary to carry out the purpose of the trust;
    2. Subject to my express direction to the contrary, the power to sell, call in and convert into money any trust property, including real property, that my Trustee in his or her discretion deems advisable;
    3. Subject to my express direction to the contrary, the power to mortgage trust property where my Trustee considers it advisable to do so;
    4. Subject to my express direction to the contrary, the power to borrow money where my Trustee considers it advisable to do so;
    5. Subject to my express direction to the contrary, the power to lend money to the trust beneficiary if my Trustee considers it is in the best interest of the beneficiary to do so;
    6. To make expenditures for the purpose of repairing, improving and rebuilding any property;
    7. To exercise all rights and options of an owner of any securities held in trust;
    8. To lease trust property, including real estate, without being limited as to term;
    9. To make investments he or she considers advisable, without being limited to those investments authorized by law for trustees;
    10. To receive additional property from any source and in any form of ownership;
    11. Instead of acting personally, to employ and pay any other person or persons, including a body corporate, to transact any business or to do any act of any nature in relation to a trust created under my Will including the receipt and payment of money, without being liable for any loss incurred. And I authorize my Trustee to appoint from time to time upon such terms as he or she may think fit any person or persons, including a body corporate, for the purpose of exercising any powers herein expressly or impliedly given to my Trustee with respect to any property belonging to the trust;
    12. Without the consent of any persons interested in trusts established hereunder, to compromise, settle or waive any claim or claims at any time due to or by the trust in such manner and to such extent as my Trustee considers to be in the best interest of the trust beneficiary, and to make an agreement with any other person, persons or corporation in respect thereof, which shall be binding upon such beneficiary;
    13. To make or not make any election, determination, designation or allocation required or permitted to be made by my Trustee (either alone or jointly with others) under any of the provisions of any local, state, federal, or other taxing statute, in such manner as my Trustee, in his or her absolute discretion, deems advisable, and each such election, determination, designation or allocation when so made shall be final and binding upon all persons concerned;
    14. To pay himself or herself a reasonable compensation out of the trust assets; and
    15. To employ and rely on the advice given by any attorney, accountant, investment advisor, or other agent to assist the Trustee in the administration of this trust and to compensate them from the trust assets.

    The above authority and powers granted to my Trustee are in addition to any powers and elective rights conferred by statute or federal law or by other provision of this Will and may be exercised as often as required, and without application to or approval by any court.

    (2) Other Provisions

    1. Subject to the terms of this Will, I direct that my Trustee will not be liable for any loss to my estate or to any beneficiary resulting from the exercise by him or her in good faith of any discretion given him or her in this Will;
    2. Any trust created in this Will shall be administered as independently of court supervision as possible under the laws of the State having jurisdiction over the trust; and
    3. If any trust condition is held invalid, it will not affect other provisions that can be given effect without the invalid provision.

  35. GENERAL PROVISIONS
  36. Individuals Omitted From Bequests
  37. If I have omitted to leave property in this Will to one or more of my heirs as named above or have provided them with zero shares of a bequest, the failure to do so is intentional.
  38. Insufficient Estate
  39. If the value of my estate is insufficient to fulfill all of the bequests described in this Will then I give my Executor full authority to decrease each bequest by a proportionate amount.
  40. No Contest Provision
  41. If any beneficiary under this Will contests in any court any of the provisions of this Will, then each and all such persons shall not be entitled to any devises, legacies, bequests, or benefits under this Will or any codicil hereto, and such interest or share in my estate shall be disposed of as if that contesting beneficiary had not survived me.
  42. Severability
  43. If any provisions of this Will are deemed unenforceable, the remaining provisions will remain in full force and effect.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have signed my name on this the ________ day of ________________, ________, at __________________________, Virginia, declaring and publishing this instrument as my Last Will, in the presence of the undersigned witnesses, who witnessed and subscribed this Last Will at my request, and in my presence.

_____________________________
__________________________ (Testator) Signature

SIGNED AND DECLARED by __________________________ on the ________ day of ________________, ________ to be the Testator's Last Will, in our presence, at __________________________, Virginia, who at the Testator's request and in the presence of the Testator and of each other, all being present at the same time, have signed our names as witnesses.


________________________
Witness #1 Signature
________________________
Witness #1 Name (Please Print)
________________________
Witness #1 Street Address
________________________
Witness #1 City/State


________________________
Witness #2 Signature
________________________
Witness #2 Name (Please Print)
________________________
Witness #2 Street Address
________________________
Witness #2 City/State

Last Will and Testament Page of
Last Will and Testament Page of

AFFIDAVIT

STATE OF VIRGINIA

COUNTY/CITY OF _____________________________

Before me, the undersigned authority, on this day personally appeared __________________________, ____________________ and ____________________, known to me to be the Testator and the witnesses, respectively, whose names are signed to the attached or foregoing instrument and, all of these persons being by me first duly sworn, __________________________, the Testator, declared to me and to the witnesses in my presence that the instrument is the Last Will of the Testator and that they had willingly signed or directed another to sign the same for them, and executed it in the presence of said witnesses as their free and voluntary act for the purposes therein expressed; that said witnesses stated before me that the foregoing Last Will was executed and acknowledged by the Testator as their Last Will in the presence of said witnesses who, in the Testator's presence and at their request, and in the presence of each other, did subscribe their names thereto as attesting witnesses on the day of the date of said Last Will, and that the Testator, at the time of the execution of said Last Will, was over the age of eighteen years and of sound and disposing mind and memory.


_____________________________
Testator


__________________________
Witness #1


__________________________
Witness #2

Subscribed, sworn and acknowledged before me by __________________________, the Testator, and subscribed and sworn before me by ____________________ and ____________________, witnesses, this _____ day of ____________________, A.D. 20_______.


SIGNED _____________________________

______________________________________
(OFFICIAL CAPACITY OF OFFICER)

Last updated May 13, 2022

What is a Last Will and Testament?

A Last Will and Testament is a legal document you can use to control the distribution of your estate and protect your loved ones after you pass away. 

The purpose of a Last Will is to leave clear instructions on how to pass on your property and finances to family members and friends. This accelerates the probate process, reduces confusion for the executor of your estate, and makes your final wishes known. For example, you can use LawDepot’s Last Will and Testament template to:

  • Choose an executor
  • Plan inheritances
  • Leave specific gifts
  • Address remaining debts
  • Appoint a guardian for any minor children
  • Appoint a caretaker for any pets

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Why is a Last Will important?

A Last Will is important if you wish to control your property, assets, and finances after death. For example, without a Will, you wouldn’t be able to gift property to a non-relative or exclude certain relatives from claiming an inheritance.

A Last Will is especially important for parents with minor children, as it allows you to appoint a legal guardian.

If you die without a valid Will, a court-appointed administrator distributes your estate according to a pre-determined formula (defined in state law). For example, the California probate code states that an intestate person's property goes first to their surviving spouse and any children (in varying degrees, dependent on the situation). If you leave no instructions and have no surviving family members, the state may collect your property.

Anyone over the age of 18 should use a Last Will and Testament to help avoid potential disputes or confusion regarding their estate.

What’s the difference between a Last Will, a Living Will, and a Living Trust?

Last Will vs Living Will

While a Last Will deals with your estate after death, a Living Will (also known as a Health Care Directive) specifies your health care preferences when you’re alive but incapacitated. When you’re incapacitated and cannot give consent, health care professionals refer to your Living Will for guidance on the treatments you may or may not want. 

Last Will vs Living Trust

A Living Trust and a Last Will are both documents that control the distribution of your assets and property. However, a Living Trust does not need to go through probate, which can lower the cost and time it takes to distribute your assets after death. 

What is the best way to create a Will?

It’s best to create your Last Will and Testament when you have time to carefully consider the distribution of your estate. It’s also important to adhere to your state’s laws for creating a valid Will. Often, this means creating your Will with a word processor on a computer, printing a physical copy of it, and signing it with the appropriate witnesses. For example, Texas probate code states that a valid Will must be in writing and signed by the testator and at least two credible witnesses.

To avoid legal challenges to the validity of your Will, you must create it when you are of legal age and sound mind. Having the legal capacity to make a Will means you understand: 

  • What a Will is
  • That you’re making a Will 
  • Your relationship to the people mentioned in your Will
  • The types and amount of property you own 
  • How you wish to distribute your property

Use LawDepot’s Last Will and Testament template to ensure you cover all aspects of your estate. Our questionnaire guides you through the process and saves your work, so you can update your Will anytime you need. Select your state to choose the template that complies with local laws. We’ll also provide state-specific instructions to help you execute your Last Will and Testament properly.

How do I write a Last Will and Testament?

1. Record the testator’s information

You’re known as the testator (or testatrix) when you write a Will. Include your full name and address.

2. Name an executor

The executor of your estate is legally bound to follow the instructions left in your Will. You can also name a backup executor in case your original choice is unavailable.

3. Add beneficiaries

List the people or organizations you wish to inherit your estate once your debts are settled. This may include any living children, extended family members, friends, or charities that are meaningful to you.

4. Provide for children and/or pets

Appoint a legal guardian for your children or a caretaker for your pets. Include any instructions for specific levels of care and allocation of funds.

State if you want to delay the inheritance of any minor children until they reach a certain age. If you do want to delay, state the age your children must be to receive their inheritance. 

5. Sign the document

Review your Will to ensure it’s free of errors and accurately reflects your wishes. Sign the document according to your state laws (LawDepot provides state-specific instructions to guide you in this process).

Can I give away all of my property in a Will?

You can give away most, but not all, of your property in a Last Will. Typically, you cannot use a Will to give away:

  • Life insurance
  • 401(k) plan assets
  • Pension plan assets
  • Retirement plan assets
  • Annuities
  • Property held in a trust
  • Matrimonial home held jointly

Life insurance, 401 (k) plans, pension and retirement plans, and annuities allow the holder to specify a beneficiary, which is why these assets do not go through a Will.

Does a Will allow me to specify care for my pets?

Yes, you can designate a caretaker for your dog, cat, or other pets within your Last Will and Testament.

LawDepot’s Last Will and Testament template includes a section that addresses any pets you have, who their caretaker should be, and how much money to allot to their care.

If you wish to provide specific details about the kind of care your pet needs, use the additional details section to write your own clause. For example, you may wish to cover certain health conditions, medications, or treatments your pet has or needs.

Can I make a gift to a charity in my Will?

People often create what’s known as a legacy gift when designating a charity as a beneficiary in a Last Will and Testament. You can gift certain items, property, a sum of money, or a percentage of your estate. 

To add a non-profit organization as a beneficiary, you’ll need its Employer Identification Number (EIN), also known as a federal Tax Income Number (TIN). This is a unique nine-digit number that identifies the organization. Contact the charity for more information on how to leave them a legacy gift. 

Do I need to notarize my Last Will and Testament?

Although laws vary by state, you typically don’t need to notarize your Last Will and Testament in order for it to be valid. Doing so, however, may accelerate the probate process. In this case, a commissioner of oaths or notary public confirms the identities and signatures of you and your witnesses. 

LawDepot’s Last Will and Testament template includes a Self-Proving Affidavit. When notarized and executed properly, this document helps prove the validity of your Last Will and may eliminate the need for witnesses to testify in court. 

When should I change or revise my Last Will and Testament?

Review and make any necessary changes to your Last Will and Testament when:

  • Your relationship status changes (married, separated, or widowed) 
  • You have children
  • You gain/lose a significant amount of property or assets
  • You wish to disinherit someone

Use a Codicil to make a minor change to your Will. Minor changes can include additions, substitutions, or deletions of clauses (e.g., changing who you appoint as a legal guardian to your children).

You should create a new Will and revoke any prior documents if you need to make extensive changes (like removing an ex-spouse or adding several new beneficiaries). This helps avoid confusion when authorities need to administer your Will. 

Related Documents:

  • Power of Attorney: Grant someone the authority to make decisions on your behalf concerning your finances, property, business, and more.
  • Health Care Directive: Grant a person the authority to make medical treatment decisions in the event that you are ever unable to speak for yourself.
  • Codicil: Make changes to an existing Last Will and Testament.
  • Gift Deed: Give money or property to a person or organization.
  • End-of-Life Plan: Outline your wishes for memorial services and remains when you pass away.
  • Just-in-Case Instructions: Describe your life so someone can manage your affairs in an emergency.
  • Prenuptial Agreement: Getting married? Protect both parties with a prenuptial agreement.
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