Choosing Witnesses for Your Will

Get a Witnessfor your Will

A will is a legal document that outlines how you would like your assets to be distributed after you pass away. It’s an essential tool for ensuring that your wishes are respected and your loved ones are taken care of. But for a will to be considered valid, it must be witnessed correctly. In this blog, we’ll go over who can witness your will and the requirements for witnessing a will.

Who Can Witness Your Will?

In most states (check your state as some are different), anyone over the age of 18 who is of sound mind and not named as a beneficiary in the will can serve as a witness. The witnesses should be impartial parties who have no personal interest in the distribution of your assets. In other words, they should not stand to gain anything from your death.

If two witnesses are required, the two witnesses must sign the will in your presence, and they should also be present when each other signs the will. The witnesses’ role is to verify that you are the person making the will and that you were of sound mind and not under duress when you signed it.

Requirements for Witnessing a Will

Each state has different requirements for witnessing a will, but most states require that the witnesses:

  1. Be present when you sign the will: The witnesses must be present when you sign the will and must see you sign it.
  2. Sign the will in your presence: The witnesses must sign the will in your presence, after you have signed it.
  3. Be of sound mind: The witnesses must be of sound mind and must not be under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
  4. Not be named as a beneficiary: The witnesses must not be named as a beneficiary in the will. If they are, the gift to them may be considered invalid.
  5. Be impartial: The witnesses must be impartial and should have no personal interest in the distribution of your assets.Criteria for a good witness can be:
  1. Meets the age requirement for your state.
  2. Of sound mind: The witness must be capable of understanding the significance of witnessing the will and must not be under the influence of drugs or alcohol at the time of signing.
  3. Impartial: The witness should not have any personal interest in the distribution of your assets. This helps ensure that the will is considered valid and that your wishes are respected after you pass away.
  4. Available: The witness should be easily accessible and available to sign the will when you are ready to do so.
  5. Trustworthy: The witness should be someone you trust to accurately witness the signing of your will and to provide testimony if necessary.
  6. Ideally, you should choose two witnesses who meet these criteria. The witnesses’ role is to verify that you are the person making the will and that you were of sound mind and not under duress when you signed it.
  7. People who are typically not recommended as witnesses include beneficiaries named in the will, close family members, or people who stand to gain from your death. It’s best to choose witnesses who are impartial and have no personal interest in the distribution of your assets.

Conclusion

Having a will is an important part of estate planning, but it must be witnessed correctly for it to be considered valid. When selecting witnesses for your will, make sure that they are over the age required by your state, of sound mind, and not named as a beneficiary in the will. It’s also important to familiarize yourself with your state’s requirements for witnessing a will, as they may differ from state to state. Gentreo wills provide step by step instruction per state as to how to execute your will.

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