Does Your State Allow Self-Proving Affidavits?
Self-proving affidavits may be legal in your state. By using a self-proving affidavit, you may be able to avoid some common probate problems. A self-proving affidavit is a written document that you attach to your Will or append to the end of your Will. The document or clause contains a notarial certification or attestation clause in which a notary signs the document after you and your witnesses sign your Will. In the majority of U.S. jurisdictions, your Will must contain at least two signatures from impartial witnesses certifying that each witnessed you signing your Will and that you were of sound mind and not subject to undue influence at the time you signed your Will.
Upon your death when someone probates your Will, your local probate court will most likely require the testimony of one or both of your witnesses to authenticate and validate your Will. Your witnesses must testify that you signed your Will or someone else signed it in your presence and direction, and that they witnessed the signing. They must also testify that you were of sound mind, of legal age and free from duress. By using a self-proving affidavit, the Will becomes “self-proving" without the testimony of your witnesses. Thus, if you can use a self-proving affidavit, your witnesses may not have to appear in court to validate the authenticity of your Will.
If you have questions about estate planning or probate issues, then please call for an initial one-hour consultation, which is at no-charge. We at the Mendel Law Firm can help you uncover your options and choose the strategy that is best for you.