Witnesses are often a key component of making a Will valid and legally effective, and you must follow your state-specific instructions provided with each of your documents.
These people usually should not be a witness:
- Anybody named in your Will—executors, guardians, gift recipients, etc
- Immediate family members
What should you do?
A great place to find witnesses is wherever you go to notarize your documents (UPS Store is common). Some state documents don't require a notary, so ask a neighbor, coworker, or friends who aren't in your will to help you out. Maybe buy them coffee or a beer as a thank you.
Are there consequences if I use the wrong witness?
In some states, there may be unintended consequences of having a Will witnessed by a family member or someone named in the Will. These consequences could jeopardize the ability of any witness to receive any gifts or inheritance from your Will. Using unrelated witnesses that are not named in your estate plan will help avoid that possibility.
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