We bought a enhanced life estate deed form online to transfer my wife's property to our daughter via a enhanced life estate deed. The form contained 2 witness blanks and a notary blank. My wife, one witness, and the notary all signed the form. We did not get a 2nd witness to sign the document. I was told by a friend living in Colorado that he had recorded deed before without any witness signatures. We live in Texas and I know that witness signatures are not required on most deeds. If I proceed with recording the Enhanced Life Estate Deed will the lack of one of the witnesses invalidate the Will?
I agree with Attorney Voeller. I add this, only in case you mistyped your last question and MEANT whether the lack of witness signature would invalidate the Deed. Colorado law appears to require only the grantor(s) and notary to sign.
I am concerned, however, that if you got this form online, that it might not do what you are trying to do. The presence of witness lines where none are required is just one clue that something may be amiss. Given that you do not know the requirements, it would be a really good idea to at least have the deed reviewed by an attorney, before attempting to record it. That way, if there are problems, you can easily correct them. If not, you will have some additional peace of mind. Estate planning is not a do-it-yourself project and the use of pre-printed online forms can and often does result in costly problems.
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Estate Planning Attorney
The lack of a witness on an enhanced life estate deed will not have any effect on the grantor's Will. The Will and the deed are two totally separate instruments.
In Texas, the only time we need witnesses to a deed are when the grantor is signing with a mark or an X. Otherwise, as you stated, we don't need witnesses for a deed to be valid. I am not licensed in Colorado, so I'm not sure what the law there requires. Make sure you check with a Colorado attorney just to be sure.
Just to confirm the answer to your primary question, like I mentioned previously, a deed has no bearing on the validity of a Will.
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Both attorneys offer sound advice and discuss the issues you should be concerned about. In any event, if you have any wealth at all, you should have a trained estates attorney assist you in these very important matters. This is how expensive law suits arise after a person dies.
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