Overview of Last Will and Testament Washington DC

Protect your assets and ensure the well-being of your loved ones with a Last Will and Testament in Washington DC. Secure the future with the experts.


What Is a Valid Will in Washington, DC?

A valid will, also known as a “last will and testament” in Washington, DC, is an important legal document that allows a person to express their wishes concerning the distribution of their property after death.

A valid last will and testament must be signed by the testator (the person making the will) in the presence of at least two competent witnesses, who must also sign the will.

In Washington, DC, a will must be in writing and signed by the testator at least 18 or older. A holographic will (one that is completely handwritten) can also be valid; however, it is best to have a District of Columbia wills attorney draft your will to ensure all requirements are met.

Can I Write My Own Will in D.C.?

Yes, you can write your own will in the District of Columbia. However, it is highly recommended that you use the services of an attorney to ensure that all legal requirements are met, and your wishes are fully expressed. An experienced estate planning attorney like Kevin C. Martin, PLLC, can help ensure your last will and testament is valid and properly drafted.

Requirements to Be a Witness for a Will in Washington, D.C.

For a will to be valid, it must be witnessed and signed by two individuals of sound mind in the District of Columbia. The witnesses must:

  • Be at least 18 years old;
  • Understand what they are signing and witnessing;
  • Not stand to inherit anything from the will;
  • Have no interest in the will’s validity; and
  • Not be related to the testator by blood or marriage

An experienced attorney like Kevin C. Martin, PLLC, can help ensure that the legal requirements for a valid will are met and your wishes properly expressed.

Contact Kevin C. Martin, Attorney at Law, PLLC, today for DC residents looking to create a last will and testament. Our attorneys are dedicated to helping you create a lasting legacy that reflects your wishes.

What Happens if Someone Dies Intestate in Washington, D.C.?

Distributing an individual’s assets and property after death can become complicated without a valid will. This is known as “dying intestate.”

The District of Columbia has certain laws that decide how the deceased’s assets are divided among family members, including the surviving spouse. This process can be lengthy and complex, and without proper guidance, it can be hard to ensure that all parties involved receive their rightful inheritance.

What Should I Avoid While Drafting a Will?

Knowing what to avoid when writing a will can help ensure your intentions are clear and legally binding.

Common pitfalls include improperly appointing an executor and forgetting to update your will if life circumstances change. It is vital to be aware of these potential issues and take steps to avoid them.

When drafting your will, be sure to avoid the following:

1. Failing to Appoint an Executor (A Personal Representative)

If you do not name someone in your will as the executor, it can confuse and delay when it comes time to distribute your assets. It is important to appoint a reliable and trustworthy person who understands an executor’s responsibilities.

2. Making Unclear or Ambiguous Decisions

Make sure that your wishes are clearly stated in your will. If you fail to provide sufficient detail, the probate court may not be able to interpret your wishes properly and could make decisions that conflict with what you would have wanted.

3. Not Updating Your Will When Life Circumstances Change

If your life circumstances change, such as moving to a new state or gaining additional assets, it is important to update your will. Failing to do so can lead to discrepancies and confusion when the time comes for your wishes to be followed.

What Makes a Will Invalid in Washington, D.C.?


Understanding the validity of a will is crucial to honor and respect an individual’s final wishes. In the District of Columbia, a will must be in writing and signed by two witnesses to be legally valid.

The testator must also have testamentary capacity, meaning they understand the nature and consequences of their actions.

Furthermore, a will can be challenged if it is found to have been created under duress or undue influence. This is why it is crucial to seek the assistance of an experienced estate planning attorney when drafting your will.

Choosing the Right Executor and Updating Wills: Key Considerations under DC Law

Selecting an executor for your will is a decision that warrants careful consideration. In Washington, D.C., the chosen executor will manage the estate’s affairs, ensuring that your final wishes are honored precisely. It’s crucial to choose someone who is not only trustworthy but also organized and capable of handling financial and legal responsibilities. Additionally, regular updates to your will are essential, especially after major life events like marriage, divorce, or the birth of a child. These updates help prevent disputes and ensure that your intentions are clear under DC law, which can have specific stipulations affecting the execution of wills.

Why Do I Need a Will?

Creating a valid will in Washington, DC, is essential for several reasons:

  • To ensure your assets are distributed according to your wishes after death;

  • To appoint a guardian for any minor children or dependents;

  • To minimize potential family conflicts and avoid lengthy legal battles

  • To protect any business interests or valuable assets that you may have

By having a valid will in place, you can have peace of mind knowing that your loved ones and assets will be taken care of after your passing according to your wishes.

Need Help? Contact Kevin C. Martin, Attorney at Law, PLLC, Today!

Matters of succession are very sensitive and delicate for any family. Consider hiring a lawyer with a thorough understanding of succession and intestacy laws to ensure that the wishes of the deceased family member are honored in the truest sense.

Schedule a free consultation with Kevin C. Martin, Attorney at Law, PLLC, today to start drafting the documents you need to safeguard your interests.