Witnesses are often a key component of making your documents legally effective. You must follow the state-specific instructions provided on the first page of each document. 

 

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. In this case, you can ask a neighbor, coworker, or friends who aren't in your Estate Plan to act as your witnesses.

 

These people usually should not be a witness:

  • Anybody named in your Estate Plan - Trustees, Executors, Guardians, Gift recipients, etc
  • Immediate family members
  • Minors

In some states, there may be unintended consequences of having a Will / Trust witnessed by a family member or someone named in the documents. This could jeopardize the ability of any witness to receive any gifts or inheritance from your estate. 

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