We sign important documents throughout our adult lives – employment agreements, rental contracts, marriage licenses and so on. Some of these documents must be signed before a government official or notary public. A Last Will and Testament, one of the most important documents you will ever sign, requires two witnesses. But do you know who is allowed to witness an Arizona Will?
Requirements Of A Witness
Someone who witnesses the signing of a Will in Arizona must be “generally competent to be a witness.” Usually, anyone eighteen years of age or older and of sound mind is considered a qualified witness.
It’s also best that the witnesses be “disinterested.” In other words, they should not be beneficiaries or have any interest in the estate of the person signing the will (the “testator”). Arizona law does not invalidate a Will when an interested party serves as witness, but it’s best to avoid using witnesses who have a stake in the outcome of your estate.
Duties Of A Witness
Witnesses must be present when a testator signs a Will. By signing the Will, a witness is stating that:
- the Will was signed on that date;
- the testator signed the Will;
- the testator declared it to be his or her Last Will and Testament;
- the testator asked the witness to serve; and the testator appeared to be of sound mind, not under duress, nor under the influence of another.
- the witnesses signed in the presence of the testator and each other.
A testamentary affidavit, or self-proving affidavit, is signed by the testator and the witnesses before a notary public, and attached to the Will. This affidavit affirms that:
- the testator and witnesses were identified by the notary and signed in the notary’s presence;
- the testator confirmed the document signed was his/her last will and testament;
- the witnesses confirmed they signed the Will as witnesses; and
- the witnesses believed the testator was at least 18 years of age, of sound mind, and not under undue influence.
Procedure For Executing A Will
At Keystone Law Firm, we hold a signing ceremony. When a Will is ready to be executed, the testator and witnesses gather before our notary public. This can be done anywhere, in an attorney’s office or someone’s home. It’s best to do it in a quiet place.
After the notary public has sworn everyone in, the testator should spend a few minutes going over the Will. If the Will is acceptable to the testator, it’s time for everyone to sign. Either the notary, the paralegal or the attorney will ask a few important questions. Everyone signs where indicated and the Will has now been executed.
Call For An Appointment
Not sure if your Will is up to date or just have questions about the whole process of making or witnessing a Will? At Keystone Law, we have the experience to help you. Call us at (480) 418-8448. We offer services for clients throughout Arizona, including Chandler, Gilbert, Sun Lakes, Tempe, Phoenix, Mesa, Scottsdale, and Apache Junction.