Who Can Witness Your Will?
When you draft a last will and testament, it must be witnessed in order to be considered valid by the courts.
If you have an estate planning attorney handle your Will (and you should), then he or she will take care of having the document properly witnessed.
But for those who feel the need to try writing their own, you should be aware that not just anyone can witness your will.
For starters, the witness must be of legal age and also be of sound mind. This is important because if your witness is the least unstable mentally, it could be grounds for a successful challenge after youíre gone.
The other thing you need to remember is that your witnesses should have no interest in the Will or your estate. This means that anyone who will or could potentially expect to inherit cannot be a witness. And hereís why:
If you leave half of your estate to your cousin George and George is also a witness, whoís to say that George didnít influence you in some way to get that inheritance?
Thatís right Ė no one can say for sure because youíll be gone by the time the issue comes up.
Of course, witnesses arenít the only thing that can invalidate your Will and making sure your document meets state requirements isnít a problem when you have an estate planning attorney in your corner.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Barry Horowitz
Experienced estate planning attorneys of the Nirenstein, Horowitz & Associates offer estate planning and business planning resources to residents of Connecticut.
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Disclaimer: While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of this publication, it is not intended to provide legal advice as individual situations will differ and should be discussed with an expert and/or lawyer. For specific technical or legal advice on the information provided and related topics, please contact the author.