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How to make a video will

How to make a video will

2 months ago

·

6 min read

Written by

Parminder Singh

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Technology continues to reshape traditional practices, disrupting virtually every aspect of our everyday lives. One of the recent innovations is the concept of video wills, which results from people seeking new ways to document and communicate their final wishes regarding the distribution of their assets.


Video wills, also known as testamentary videos or digital wills, offer a unique opportunity to create a video recording of one's intentions. However, the question of the legality and effectiveness of a video will creates the need for careful consideration and legal guidance. In this article, we'll explore the nature of video wills, their legal implications, their benefits and drawbacks, and provide valuable tips on creating a video will.

What are video wills?

A video will is an actual video capturing a person's final wishes and instructions regarding the distribution of their assets after their death. A will recording typically contains the description of assets, the names of beneficiaries, and the name of the executor.


Are video wills legal?

A video will is legal, however, it doesn't have any value without a written will. To be legitimate, a will must be written and signed. In addition, most US states require that a will must be witnessed and signed by two people who saw the testator sign it and can testify that the testator was of sound mind and acted of their own free will.


Therefore, a video will isn't legally binding unless a written, signed, and witnessed document exists. While a video will isn't legally valid, it might be helpful, mainly if the testator is worried about someone contesting their will after their death. A video will also provides an opportunity to record a goodbye message to comfort the testator's loved ones or explain why they decided to distribute their possessions in that particular way.


Advantages of a video will

Recording a video will is associated with some indisputable benefits:


  • A video will can serve as a piece of evidence that a deceased person was of sound mind and wasn't unfairly influenced when signing the document.
  • It can be helpful when someone is dissatisfied with the will and decides to challenge it.
  • A video will may also be used to enhance a formal estate plan, for instance, by letting the testator name one of their children as the executor.
  • A video will can be used to express the testator's wishes as to how the property is to be distributed among family members.


Disadvantages of a video will

While the testator can use a video will to detail how their possessions should be distributed, this is not legally binding, meaning the court won't accept the recording.

Another disadvantage of a video will is that the file can be damaged or deleted.


Tips on how to make a video of the will-signing ceremony

Undoubtedly, the advantages of a video will outweigh its drawbacks. If you consider adding a video will to a formal paper will prepared by an estate planning attorney, make sure you follow these guidelines:


  1. Choose a quiet and private location where you can comfortably record your video will without interruptions or distractions.
  2. Prepare a concise script outlining your final wishes and any instructions you want to provide to your beneficiaries or executors. Practice reading the script beforehand to ensure clarity and coherence.
  3. Begin the video will by clearly stating your full name and date of birth and confirming your intention to create a valid will.
  4. Additionally, mention the date, time, and location where the recording takes place and the names and addresses of the witnesses.
  5. Clearly articulate how you want your assets to be distributed, who you want to appoint as your executor, and any instructions you wish to convey.
  6. Make sure you use high-quality equipment.
  7. Opt for a medium close-up.
  8. The video process shouldn't be interrupted.
  9. The recording can't be modified.
  10. After recording the video will, make sure to store it in a secure place, for instance, a safe deposit box or with your law firm, informing your family about its existence and whereabouts. Remember about an appropriate video title. Optionally, add a file with a video description.


It's essential to bear in mind that a will, no matter written or recorded, isn't a single estate planning option. You can create a trust to guarantee that your belongings and property are distributed according to your will.

 

See a lawyer

An experienced lawyer can navigate you through the legal requirements and ensure that your video will adheres to the necessary formalities. They can provide valuable insights, help you draft a comprehensive document, and ensure that your final wishes are legally sound and binding.


How ProofKeep can help avoid a possible will contest

The good news is that you don't need to invite a video production team for this video project since today's smartphones offer high-quality video recording. What is more, you can make the most of modern technology by using ProofKeep™.

ProofKeep™ is a user-friendly mobile app that acts as an independent witness, capturing video, audio, and photo evidence of an event. Unlike video, audio, or photos captured with the help of any other application, ProofKeep™ ensures that the proof is untampered. As a result, you get credible and authentic evidence that can be used to resolve disputes.


FAQ

Can a family member witness a will?

No. The witness can't be a beneficiary of the will or a beneficiary's spouse at the moment of signing. Also, each witness must be the age of majority and mentally sound.


Who is prohibited from witnessing a will?

Anyone listed in a will or standing to benefit from a will (a spouse, a partner, children, and grandchildren) can't be a witness to prevent a conflict of interest.


Can an executor of a will be its beneficiary at the same time?

Yes. It's very common for an executor to be one of its beneficiaries.


Is it acceptable to witness a document through a video call?

Although many legal documents can be signed electronically and witnessed online, some documents have special requirements and should be witnessed in person.

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Parminder Singh

Technologist, Conceptual Designer, Lifelong Learner, Story Teller
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