Drafting a will is an important act that can help protect your family and assets after you die. In order for the will to be valid, the will must conform to state wills law requirements. When it comes to will drafting and enforcement requirements amongst the states, there is a lot of uniformity in the wills laws with slight variations. It is a fairly simple process to make a valid will in West Virginia.
Wills in West Virginia: Basic Requirements
Similar to other states will requirements, in order to create a will, you must be at least 18 years and of sound mind. Under West Virginia's laws, "sound mind" means that you have not been ruled legally incompetent in a prior legal proceeding. Two witnesses are required for the validity of the will and they must sign the document in the testator's presence. The testator must also sign the will.
Nuncupative and Holographic Wills
A nuncupative will is a will that is spoken out loud and is only available for soldiers during actual military service or for mariners who are at sea. At least one witness is required for the validity of a nuncupative will.
The term "holographic will" refers to a will that is handwritten. While West Virginia recognizes holographic wills, there are certain requirements that must be met in order for the will to be valid.
If you die without leaving a will, then your property will be distributed under the direction of the state intestate laws. Under West Virginia's laws, your property would go to your closest relatives. This begins with your spouse and children if you have them. If you do not have a spouse and you do not have children, then your parents or grandchildren would be considered your closest relatives.
Overview of West Virginia's Wills Laws
Below you will find a summary of key provisions of West Virginia's prohibited consensual sexual activity laws.
41-1-1, et seq.
Age of Testator
18 years or older and of sound mind.
Number of Witnesses
Two witnesses present at the same time when will is signed or acknowledged by testator, must sign in presence of testator and each other.
Nuncupative (Oral) Wills and Holographic (Hand Written) Wills
- Soldiers in actual military service and mariners or at sea may dispose of personal estate as he/she would at common law.
- If will is wholly in handwriting of testator and signed by testator, the will does not need acknowledgment or witnesses.
Note: State laws are always subject to change through the passage of new legislation, rulings in the higher courts (including federal decisions), ballot initiatives, and other means. While we strive to provide the most current information available, please consult an attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.
West Virginia Codes and Legal Research Options
Related Resources for Wills Laws
Contact an Experienced Attorney about Your Will
A will is one of the most significant legal documents that you can create. Although making a will is fairly straightforward in West Virginia, there are many factors to consider when making critical decisions. An experienced attorney can assist you with making the appropriate choices for your specific situation. Contact an attorney today to discuss your options.