Some people who create an estate plan in the Greensboro, North Carolina area want to know whether or not they should create a video will as a part of that plan. In this week’s discussion on basic estate planning questions, we are going to look at some common questions surrounding video wills and their role in estate planning. As with any discussion on a specific estate planning topic, it’s important to speak to your attorney for personalized advice before you make any final decision. Until then, however, let’s take a look at some common questions about video wills.
What is a video will?
A last will and testament is a document in which people, called testators, express their desires about how they want their property distributed after they die, as well as other choices that apply after death. A video will, therefore, is simply a videotape or motion picture recording of testators stating their final wishes, or at the very least, signing their wills.
Many people make video wills as a supplemental tool when they create an estate plan. This means that, though your video will can allow you the opportunity to record your final wishes and send a final message to your family members and loved ones, it isn’t a tool that you can use exclusively.
Why can’t I use a video will as replacement for my last will and testament?
In order for a North Carolina court to accept your last will and testament as a legally valid tool, the document has to meet some specific requirements. North Carolina law does not currently allow people to create a valid video last will. In other words, should you decide to make a video will as your only expression of your last wishes, a court will not honor the wishes. In order for your will to be effective, you have to make a document that complies with North Carolina law.
If a video will is not legally effective, why make it?
People choose to make video wills for a variety of reasons. First, even though your video will is not a valid substitute for a printed last will and testament, it does have some legal usefulness. Should, for example, someone challenge your last will and testament on the basis that you were not mentally competent at the time you made it, the video will can serve as evidence to show that you did have the requisite mental capacity.
Second, some people use video wills as a more personal way to leave a message or express their choices. A written document can fail to capture your reasoning or desires in many situations, but a video will offers you the opportunity to be more expressive, as well as the opportunity to pass on a more personalized message to those closest to you.