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Wills and the importance of witnesses

On Behalf of | May 11, 2018 | wills

There are many legal tools available to Arizonans who are wanting to engage in estate planning. While many of these tools seem relatively easy to create, and there are even a number of self-help and do-it-yourself resources, these documents can actually raise significant legal issues when improperly handled. This is why it is always advisable to have an experienced legal professional assist in the drafting of these documents. Failing to do so could result in a lot of headache, heartache, time and money.

This is especially true when it comes to wills. Although most wills are found to be legally enforceable, sometimes arguments arise with regard to whether the individual who created the will was of sound mind to do so at the time of signing the document, as well as whether he or she was coerced into signing the document. One way to prevent this is to have witnesses who can testify, if need be, as to the testator’s state of mind and the circumstances surrounding the signing of the document.

Under Arizona law, a will can only be valid if it is signed by at least two witnesses. Those witnesses must sign the document shortly after seeing the testator sign the will. Those contemplating the creation of a will should ensure that their witnesses are trustworthy and honest, especially since they may be crucial to a will’s validity in the event that it is challenged.

Whether you are thinking about creating a will of your own or looking to challenge a will that affects you personally, you may want to be prepared to face issues related to competency and coercion, in addition to witness reliability. To better determine how to appropriately handle your situation, you may want to consider discussing the matter with a legal professional who is experienced in this area of the law.