WVC 41 -
CHAPTER 41. WILLS.
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ARTICLE 1. CAPACITY TO MAKE; REQUISITES; VALIDITY.
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§41-1-1. Who may make will and as to what property.
Every person not prohibited by the following section may, by
will, dispose of any estate to which he shall be entitled at his
death, and which, if not so disposed of, would devolve upon his
heirs, personal representative, or next of kin. The power hereby
given shall extend to any estate, right, or interest, to which
the testator may be entitled at his death, notwithstanding he may
become so entitled after the execution of the will.
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§41-1-2. Who may not make will.
No person of unsound mind, or under the age of eighteen
years, shall be capable of making a will.
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§41-1-3. Must be in writing; witnesses.
No will shall be valid unless it be in writing and signed by
the testator, or by some other person in his presence and by his
direction, in such manner as to make it manifest that the name is
intended as a signature; and moreover, unless it be wholly in the
handwriting of the testator, the signature shall be made or the
will acknowledged by him in the presence of at least two
competent witnesses, present at the same time; and such witnesses
shall subscribe the will in the presence of the testator, and of
each other, but no form of attestation shall be necessary.
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§41-1-4. Execution of power of appointment.
No appointment made by will, in the exercise of any power,
shall be valid unless the same be so executed that it would be
valid for the disposition of the property to which the power
applies, if it belonged to the testator; and every will so
executed shall be a valid execution of a power of appointment by
will, notwithstanding the instrument creating the power expressly
requires that a will made in execution of such power shall be
executed with some additional or other form of execution or
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§41-1-5. Wills of personal estate by soldiers, sailors or
Notwithstanding the two preceding sections, a soldier being
in actual military service, or a mariner or seaman being at sea,
may dispose of his personal estate as he might heretofore have
done; and the will of a person domiciled out of this state at the
time of his death shall be valid as to his personal property in
this state, if it be executed according to the law of the state
or country in which he was so domiciled.
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§41-1-6. Revocation by divorce; no revocation by other changes of
(a) If after executing a will the testator is divorced or his
marriage annulled, the divorce or annulment revokes any disposition
or appointment of property made by the will to the former spouse,
any provision conferring a general or special power of appointment
on the former spouse, and any nomination of the former spouse as
executor, trustee, conservator, or guardian, unless the will
expressly provides otherwise. Property prevented from passing to
a former spouse because of revocation by divorce or annulment
passes as if the former spouse failed to survive the decedent,
except that the provisions of section three, article three, chapter
forty-one do not apply, and other provisions conferring some power
or office on the former spouse are interpreted as if the spouse
failed to survive the decedent. If provisions are revoked solely
by this section, they are revived by testator's remarriage to the
former spouse. For purposes of this section, divorce or annulment
means any divorce or annulment which would exclude the spouse as a
surviving spouse. A decree of separation which does not terminate
the status of husband and wife is not a divorce for purposes of
this section. No change of circumstances other than as described
in this section revokes a will.
(b) This section applies to all divorces, annulments or
remarriages which become effective after the fifth day of June, one
thousand nine hundred ninety-two.
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§41-1-7. Revocation generally.
No will or codicil, or any part thereof, shall be revoked,
unless under the preceding section, or by a subsequent will or
codicil, or by some writing declaring an intention to revoke the
same, and executed in the manner in which a will is required to
be executed, or by the testator, or some person in his presence
and by his direction, cutting, tearing, burning, obliterating,
canceling or destroying the same, or the signature thereto, with
the intent to revoke.
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§41-1-8. Revival after revocation.
No will or codicil, or any part thereof, which shall be in
any manner revoked, shall, after being revoked, be revived
otherwise than by the re-execution thereof, or by a codicil
executed in the manner hereinbefore required, and then only to
the extent to which an intention to re-revive the same is shown.
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§41-1-9. Effect of subsequent conveyance.
No conveyance or other act subsequent to the execution of a
will shall, unless it be an act by which the will is revoked as
aforesaid, prevent its operation with respect to such interest in
the estate comprised in the will as the testator may have power
to dispose of by will at the time of his death.
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§41-1-10. On what wills chapter operates; when re-executed wills
deemed to be made.
The validity and effect of wills executed prior to the time
this code becomes effective shall be determined by the laws of
this state in force at the time of their execution. Every will
re-executed, or republished, or revived by any codicil, shall,
for the purposes of this chapter, be deemed to have been made at
the time at which the same shall be so re-executed, republished,
Note: WV Code updated with legislation passed through the 2016 Regular Session
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