How to Record a Video Will

by MSO
Video wills are gaining in popularity but are not legally accepted in some countries or separate states.

Not all jurisdictions accept video wills as legal last will and testaments so it is best to check and include a written will with the video.

Video taping or digitally recording a will is often considered an alternative means of preventing a will from being contested in court. It shows that the testator is of sound mind when they bequeath their estate and assets and generally shows the testator signing the will to further validate its authenticity. Video wills also gives the testator the ability to convey their feelings for their loved ones and give detailed explanations about why you have left them certain items from  your estate.

However, not all U.S. states recognize video wills as valid, so it is important to understand the local laws in your area and to further ensure the legitimate use of the video will. It is recommended that it be followed by a written will.

When filming a video will the following procedures should be performed:

1. It is important that the quality of the video camera can clearly identify the testator’s face. Speak clearly without distortion and keep the video captured area at medium close-up. The video cannot be edited and is required to be submitted with any kind of technical data necessary to play back the video will.

2. In order for video wills to be admissible as a will, the testator must be sworn in by a person authorized by law to take oaths. While this is only required in some states, it is important to confirm this process before making a video will.

Prior to administering the oath, the officer of the court has to identify themselves on camera.

3. The opening statement by the testator should begin with them identifying themselves, giving their place of residence, declaring that they are of sound mind and that this recording and accompanying hard copy, if necessary, supersede any previous wills.

It is recommended that the testator mention the date, time and place of the recording prior to recounting their last wishes and the recorded names of their beneficiaries.

When a written will accompanies the video will, video of the witnesses signing the document is preferable but if that is not possible the testator should mention the names and addresses of the will’s witnesses.

4. During the filming of a video will, the hours, minutes, seconds and date should be seen on the final image and while the video will shouldn’t be interrupted, if it goes past more than one tape, the end and beginning of one section of the tape should be announced.

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