West Virginia Last Will and Testament Law

Wills and Estates – Last Will and Testament Law – West Virginia

Note:    This summary is not intended to be an all inclusive discussion of the law of wills in West Virginia, but does contain basic and other information.  This summary does not include a discussion of hand written wills.

Who may make will: Every person 18 years of age or older and of sound mind, may make a will.41-1-1.

Who may not make will: No person of unsound mind, or under the age of eighteen years, shall be capable of making a will. 41-1-2.

Execution and witnesses No will shall be valid unless it be in writing and signed by the testator.  The signature shall be made by him in the presence of at least two competent witnesses, present at the same time; and such witnesses shall subscribe the will in the presence of the testator, and of each other, but no form of attestation shall be necessary. 41-1-3.

Revocation by divorce; no revocation by other changes of circumstances: If after executing a will the testator is divorced or his marriage annulled, the divorce or annulment revokes any disposition or appointment of property made by the will to the former spouse, any provision conferring a general or special power of appointment on the former spouse, and any nomination of the former spouse as executor, trustee, conservator, or guardian, unless the will expressly provides otherwise. 41-1-6.

Revocation generally: A will or codicil may be revoked by a subsequent will or codicil, or by some writing declaring an intention to revoke the same, and executed in the manner in which a will is required to be executed.  A will may also be revoked by the testator, or some person in his presence and by his direction, cutting, tearing, burning, obliterating, canceling or destroying the same, or the signature thereto, with the intent to revoke. 41-1-7.

Revival after revocation. No will or codicil, or any part thereof, which shall be in any manner revoked, shall, after being revoked, be revived otherwise than by the re-execution thereof, or by a codicil executed in the manner hereinbefore required, and then only to the extent to which an intention to re-revive the same is shown. 41-1-8.

Effect of subsequent conveyance.
No conveyance or other act subsequent to the execution of a will shall, unless it be an act by which the will is revoked as aforesaid, prevent its operation with respect to such interest in the estate comprised in the will as the testator may have power to dispose of by will at the time of his death. 41-1-9.

On what wills chapter operates; when re-executed wills deemed to be made. The validity and effect of wills executed prior to the time this code becomes effective shall be determined by the laws of this state in force at the time of their execution. Every will re-executed, or republished, or revived by any codicil, shall, for the purposes of this chapter, be deemed to have been made at the time at which the same shall be so re-executed, republished, or revived. 41-1-10.

Competency of witnesses who are beneficiaries: If a will is witnessed by a person who is also to receive property under the will, the will is not invalid.  However, the provision in the will to that witness, or his or her spouse, shall be void except to the extent that the witness would have received the property by intestate succession laws.  41-2-1.

Creditors may be witnesses: A creditor is not prohibited from being a witness for or against the will.  41-2-2.

Executor may be witness: An executor of a will is not prohibited from being a witness for or against the will.  41-2-3.

Inside West Virginia Last Will and Testament Law