A Last Will and Testament, often simply referred to as a Will, is a legal document that allows you to communicate your wishes for after your death. These wishes include who should receive what assets of yours, who should be in charge of administering your assets and estate, what should be done with your body (burial or cremation), and who should any minor children live with.
The person who establishes a Will is called the Testator (male) or the Testatrix (female). The person who receives your assets is called your Beneficiary. The person who you appoint to care for your minor children is called the Guardian. The person that you appoint to be in charge to carry out all of your wishes is your Executor (male) or Executrix (female). In Virginia, your Executor/Executrix must be a Virginia resident or you must have a Virginia resident that serves with your Executor/Executrix.
A Last Will and Testament is not legally binding until you have died. Prior to your death, so long as you are competent, you may amend or change your Will at any time and as often as you like. You can have an amendment to you Will prepared, which is called a Codicil, or you can have a new Will prepared that takes that place of your old Will.
In order to sign a valid Will, you must be over the age of 18 years and of sound mind (which means that you must be competent). Also, you must not be under any duress to sign your Will. This means that no one can be forcing or coercing you to enter into the Will. Finally, you must understand the nature of your assets and who you are leaving them to. A Will must also be signed by two witnesses and a Notary Public in order to be valid.