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Heritage Tree LogoDo I Need Witnesses for a Valid Will Execution?

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You must not rush to the finish line in executing your last will and testament. In other words, you must not sign the bottom of this estate planning document before you confirm that it is valid and enforceable. After all, how you sign this document may make or break its legality. Continue reading to learn whether you need witnesses for a valid will execution and how an experienced Butler County will preparation attorney at Heritage Elder Law & Estate Planning, LLC can help you make the right considerations.

Do I need witnesses for a valid will execution in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania?

First of all, you must be at least 18 years of age or older at the time you execute your last will and testament. Also, you must be of sound mind, which is your having sufficient mental capacity to understand the gravity of this significant action. Only under these circumstances may you proceed with signing the bottom of this estate planning document. Of note, any terms and conditions added below your signature may not be considered part of your will and therefore may not have any legal effect.

That said, Pennsylvania estate law may not require you to garner witnesses to be present at the signing of your will. At the same time, it may not be necessary to have witnesses sign the bottom of this estate planning document alongside your signature. Similarly, you may not need to get your will notarized to make it valid and enforceable. As you may already likely assume, this is unique to most states, making executing a will in Pennsylvania much more straightforward.

Should I still consider having witnesses present at the time of my signing?

Though it may not be required of you, it may still be in your best interest to have witnesses present when you sign your last will and testament. That is, witnesses may still be called to prove your will to the Pennsylvania probate court. Otherwise, the court may be unable to accept your will as valid and enforceable; thereby making the administration of your estate more time-consuming for the loved ones you left behind.

But this may be avoided if you make your will a self-proving will. To do so, you must sign your will in the presence of two witnesses. Then, you and your two witnesses must sign affidavits in the presence of a notary. Lastly, these notarized affidavits may be physically attached to your will.

In conclusion, you cannot go wrong when taking the extra precaution of including witnesses in your estate plan execution. So before it is too late, you must retain the services of one of the skilled Butler County estate planning & probate attorneys. Contact our Heritage Elder Law & Estate Planning, LLC office today.

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