Witnesses for Your Last Will and Testament
Who Can Be Witnesses for a Last Will and Testament?
It never fails, even with a Last Will and Testament (Will). When you want to get something done efficiently, something always goes wrong. This has often been the case for people who want to get a will completed. Let’s just say a couple has met with an attorney to get their last will and testament finished. The attorney has answered the couple’s questions and has drafted the will, durable power of attorney, healthcare power of attorney and living will.
The couple gets to the attorney’s office. They shake hands. He offers them something to drink and then stops and says, “Who are going to be your witnesses?” The couple with some anxiety states, “We are and you are.”
Under the common law, a beneficiary or other interested party could not be a witness to the will. This meant that if a husband or wife was going to take under the will, which is true in most cases, they could not act as a witness. That wouldn’t work then in our hypothetical situation above.
Fortunately, Arizona Revised Statute 14-2505, beneficiaries or other interested parties can be a witness. However, for any will executed on or after October 1, 2019, unless the will is made self-proved, a person may not act as a witness if they are taking under the will or related by blood, marriage or adoption to someone taking under the will.
How to Self-Prove a Last Will and Testament
How is a will self-proved? It must be witnessed by a notary. One other important consideration to remember is that in Arizona, generally speaking, a will must have two witnesses (one exception is a holographic will-a will written by the testator in his or her own handwriting). Does the notary acting as notary count as one of the witnesses for the two-witness requirement? Yes.
This means that if husband and wife go to an attorney who has a notary to complete their will, husband and wife can act as witnesses for each other’s will, and the notary may act as the second witness for each will. The attorney may also act as a witness if needed in this or other circumstances.
That said, Probate Law Group does not operate under the bare minimum the law may require. Instead, we have three witnesses we provide for each Will. In this way, we don’t even approach the question as to the Wills authenticity.