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Witnessing a Will

WITNESSING OF A WILL

Witnessing of a will is done during the signing of the will by the testator. It is a requirement by the law that during the signing of the will, two witnesses must be present. The witnesses observe your mental capability to make a will and that you intended to sign it. During this time, the witnesses observe your actions and can later testify your state of mind if needed to. Witnesses can confirm that it is actually you whose signature appears on the will. For this reason, witnesses should be familiar enough with you to confirm your identity. Witnesses are present to accredit that you have made and signed the will, but they do not necessarily have to know what is contained in the will. You may opt to have more than the required number of witnesses (2) present during the signing in case you think either witness will fail to survive you. If you are blind, illiterate, incapacitated or too unwell to sign the will, the law allows for the will to be signed on your behalf, as long as you are in the room and you give directions during the signing.

Witness qualifications

1. Must be over 18 years old and above adults and independent and sound enough to understand the whole process.
2. The witnesses or their relatives or civil partners must not be potential beneficiaries of the will to avoid potential conflicts of interest.

During witnessing;

i. All the three of you must be present (you and the two witnesses) at the same time.
ii. You sign the will first followed by each of the two witnesses.
iii. The witnesses sign their usual signatures followed by their names, occupation, and addresses.
iv. Nobody leaves the room before the signing process is completed.
v. The signing should be done without pressure from any party.
A Self-Proving Affidavit may be used. A self-proving affidavit is a statement document by a witness stating that he/she witnessed the signing of the will and that you were mentally competent when you signed it. If present, the witnesses must sign the self-proving affidavit in the presence of a notary public after presenting necessary identification. The notary must then sign the affidavit and affix his seal to it. The self-proving affidavit can persuade a probate court not to require the witness to take the stand at a probate hearing after the testator’s death.
Lack of a self-proving affidavit, however, does not make a will invalid. For more information on will, please contact us
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