How to choose a will witnesses? What if they die?

Despite I am young, I want to draft a will for my money and properties. How can I chose two reliable witnesses? I am alone here California and I am a US citizen, all my relatives are in overseas and not a US citizen. I don't have close friends who I can trust. What if the witnesses die?

Beverly Hills, CA -

Attorney Answers (4)

Gregory Paul Benton

Gregory Paul Benton

Probate Attorney - Glendora, CA
Answered

I suggest that you hire an attorney to make sure the will is drafted correctly. The attorney can have it witnessed usually with people in his/her office.

Michael A Kirtland

Michael A Kirtland

Probate Attorney - Colorado Springs, CO
Answered

Hiring an attorney is a good idea. Each state has a procedure for a "self proving" will, so the witnesses don't have to be located at the time of your death to prove the will. It is a good idea to use witnesses who are unrelated to you, who don't receive anything in the will, and who are over 21.

Celia R Reed

Celia R Reed

Probate Attorney - Phoenix, AZ
Answered

You don't have to know the witnesses personally and the witnesses do not have to appear when you die to attest to the will. Have an attorney draft your will, so it is done correctly and the attorney will provide the witnesses.

Please note that I am answering this question as a service through Avvo but not as your attorney and no attorney-... more
Michael S. Haber

Michael S. Haber

Probate Attorney - New York, NY
Answered

My colleagues all give you good advice. If you choose an attorney to draft the will and to preside over the execution of the will, you don't have to round up your own witnesses -- the attorney will provide two (or, more likely, three) witnesses.

The persons who are typically chosen as witnesses are office personnel in the attorney/draftsman's office or other attorneys.

Most, if not all, states now use "self-proving" wills, in which the witnesses' signatures are notarized. Before self-proving wills became the norm, it often took a lot of time and money to locate witnesses who were present at the will-signing many years earlier. The development of self-proving wills over the past few decades has made the process of probate much quicker and easier.

It sounds as though you are contemplating drafting the will yourself. I would caution you: DON'T. A will is not expensive and if you make a mistake, that mistake likely won't be capable of being fixed, since the error probably won't be caught until the person who signed the will has metamorphosed from testator to decedent.

Good luck to you.
Good luck to you.

Michael S. Haber is a New York attorney. As such, his responses to posted inquiries, such as the one above, are... more

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