A Note From the Beyond: Video Wills

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What Are Video Wills?

Most states require wills to be physical documents that are written, signed, and witnessed. However, with the availability of technology, videotaped wills are becoming increasingly popular. In a video will, the will maker, who is also called the testator, usually reads her will out loud before a video camera.

Are Video Wills Valid?

A video will, by itself, is not a valid substitute for a written will. The video maker should supply a written copy of their wishes that meet the state's requirements for a valid will. This may be easy to do since the testator is reading a will out loud, meaning that a written copy exists. As long as the written copy meets the state's requirements, the video and written will can be used jointly to protect the will's validity.


Even though this type of will may not be seen as a proper substitute for a written will, the video will can still serve a valuable purpose on its own. A video will can be used as evidence that the testator was of sound mind and competent at the time that the will was created. Such evidence can be used to to deter possible will contests.

Do I Need to Contact a Lawyer to Produce My Video Will?

While producing a video will is a helpful and creative tool in the estate planning process, the video alone is not enough to ensure the distribution of your estate according to your wishes. An estate lawyer can help you draft a written will that meets your state's will requirements, to fully execute your wishes. Plus, many estate lawyers have video rooms in which you can record your will and allow you to contact loved ones from beyond the grave.

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Last Modified: 02-05-2015 09:34 AM PST

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