Video Wills

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Jeffrey Johnson is a legal writer with a focus on personal injury. He has worked on personal injury and sovereign immunity litigation in addition to experience in family, estate, and criminal law. He earned a J.D. from the University of Baltimore and has worked in legal offices and non-profits in Maryland, Texas, and North Carolina. He has also earned an MFA in screenwriting from Chapman Univer...

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UPDATED: Jul 16, 2021

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Thanks to modern technology, some people choose to read their will before a video camera. Usually, this reading supplements a written copy of the will, and virtually all states that allow video wills also require that the will be written. A video makes it difficult to contest a will, as the video provides fairly compelling proof that the person making the will was mentally competent and that the will was properly signed.

Some videos simply document the will signing ceremony, so you can watch the testator sign the will before the witnesses and watch the witnesses sign, as well. Others include videotaping the testator’s reading of the entire document. Many people also use the video to provide the testator’s explanations of how various provisions of the will should be interpreted. The testator may explain what he or she means using certain words and phrases so that his or her intent is clear, which can be helpful in the event of a dispute. Many people use the videotape to explain why certain gifts were made to certain beneficiaries in an effort to forestall family squabbles once they are gone.

If you choose to videotape your will, be sure to sign the written will before witnesses as if there was no video. The written version should be able to stand on its own.

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