Creating an Estate Plan With a Properly Witnessed Will

Creating an estate plan is typically not as simple as executing a will that leaves all of your property to your loved ones. In practice, there are actually many decisions that must be made and steps that must be followed during this process. Choices can be both large, such as the choosing of guardians for your minor children, and small, such as the selecting of the individual who is to inherit your clothing. In addition, you also must pay close attention to the requirements for a validly executed will. One such requirement is that the will be witnessed by two adult witnesses.

Witnesses of a California Will

Once you have found two adults who are willing to act as witnesses to the signing of your will, you must then have the witnesses sign the document. Each witness must read a specific clause before signing. This clause requires witnesses to declare, under pains and penalty of perjury, that the following information is true and correct:

  1. On the date that you signed your will, you declared to the witnesses that the document was in fact your will.
  2. The witnesses understood that the document was your will.
  3. You signed the will in the presence of the witnesses, while both witnesses were present at the same time.
  4. That the witnesses signed the will at your request.
  5. That the witnesses believed you to be of sound mind and memory.
  6. That the witnesses did not believe you to be under duress, menace, fraud, or undue influence at the time you signed your will.
  7. That you were at least 18 years of age or older.
  8. That the witnesses were 18 years of age as older and were competent witnesses.

Once the witnesses have made the above statements, they may sign the will. They should also make note of their primary residence.

When taking the time to create an estate plan, it is important to get it right. To learn more tips about creating an effective plan, we encourage you to sign up for our free newsletter today.

James F. Roberts
Founder and owner of the Law Office of James F. Roberts and Associates, a premiere estate planning law firm
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