Alexandria, VA Estate Planning Blog

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Last Will & Testament: Validity of Foreign Wills in Virginia

Validity of Foreign Wills as to Personal Property

A Last Will & Testament duly executed (properly signed, notarized, and valid) in another jurisdiction is generally otherwise valid in Virginia assuming it was executed in compliance with the law of that other jurisdiction. When determining weather the Will was executed properly, the determination is made as to the law then existing at the time of that person’s death (as opposed to the time the Last Will & Testament was executed) 

The Virginia Code provides that, notwithstanding the provisions of §§ 64.2-403 and 64.2-406, the will of a person domiciled out of the Commonwealth at the time of his death shall be valid as to personal property in the Commonwealth if the will is executed according to the law of the state or country in which the person was so domiciled.

Validity of Foreign Wills as to Real Property 

Because the above statute expressly states that it applies to the personal estate of the decedent, a strong argument can be made that foreign will must comply with Virginia law to be effective as to real property located within the territorial borders of Virginia. Consequently, if you have real property in Virginia you best ensure it complies with Virginia law to be safe. 

Validity of Foreign Wills as to Military

A will executed by a person while in the military service of the United States, as that term is defined in the Service members Civil Relief Act , that purports on its face to be witnessed as required by § 64.2-403, upon proof of the signature of the testator by any two disinterested witnesses, shall be presumed, in the absence of evidence to the contrary, to have been executed in accordance with the requirements of that section and shall be admitted to probate as if the formalities of execution were proved.

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