WHY IT’S IMPORTANT TO HAVE SELF-PROVED
AND ORIGINAL WILL FOR PROBATE
Maintaining the original Will and having a “self-proved” Will can save your children or spouse time and expense during probate.
Proof of Will
Understandably, the laws regarding the proof of a Will, are designed to prevent fraud, and to make sure the Will is valid in all respects. A “Self-Proved” Will is one that is signed in the presence of the testator, two witnesses and a notary public, with language attesting to the fact that all four participants signed in each other’s presence. It is important to check your Will to see whether it is self-proved. Otherwise, one of the attesting witnesses will have to testify that the signature on the Will is theirs. Often the
attesting witnesses move or predecease the testator. An out of state witness can give oath by way of obtaining a court order to appoint a Commissioner to take the oath in that state. This is a procedure that adds expense to the probate procedure. If your Will is not “self-proved” you may want to consider executing a new Will to avoid these problems.
The Importance of Maintaining the Original Will
If only a copy, rather than the original of the Will can be located after death, then the Will is considered to be lost or destroyed. In this situation, the testimony of a disinterested witness is required to show that the copy of the testator’s intent. A disinterested person means a person who does not inherit under the Will. Such a person may be difficult to find. Therefore it’s important to maintain your original Will in a safe place and let family and friends know where it can be found.
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