A will is a very important document and if you have decided to make yours, there are many things you should be aware of. One of the most significant aspects about a will is witnessing. Unlike many other legal documents, a will only be valid if it has witnesses. Therefore, when picking witnesses, you need to be very careful so that you don't make a mistake that will create problems in the future when it comes to inheritance. For this reason, here are a few key things you need to know about the witnesses you are choosing.
Who Can Serve As A Witness To Your Will?
In most cases, a witness can be anyone that you choose, but he or she must be of sound mind, competent, and an adult of legal age. However, problems or disputes usually arise when a witness is also a beneficiary of the same will. In some states, you may not even be allowed to pick beneficiaries as witnesses. In such cases, your will can be disqualified or deemed invalid. Therefore, to prevent conflicts and disputes at the time of inheritance, consider choosing someone who has no potential bias or conflict of interest in the will.
Can Your Executor Be A Witness?
You may wish to appoint an executor whose responsibility will be to ensure that all the requests in your will are accomplished. Executors should also be of legal age, competent, and reasonable. However, remember that the executor consent to the position. If the executor you appoint doesn't stand to gain anything from your will, then he or she can serve as your witness too.
How Many Witnesses Do You Need?
Laws on will vary across the states, but you will require at least two witnesses. Some states may require three witnesses, so if you are unsure of how many witnesses are required according to the laws in your state, the best thing to do is to find out from your council or a local attorney.
How Does Marriage And Divorce Affect A Will?
Marriage and divorce have a great impact on a will. While there are slight variations in every jurisdiction, marriage in most states will revoke a will. In case of a divorce, any benefits to former partners are usually revoked as well.
Remember that it is not a requirement that you use a professional to draw up your will. However, because of the many requirements to be considered when drafting a will, it's advisable to you seek the help of a legal practitioner.Share