A last will and testament is a legal document that allows one to distribute their assets and properties after their death to the people and organizations that they choose. While it is already valid if a testator, the one writing the will, signed it along with two other witnesses, there are times when the probate takes time to gather all assets, and pay off debts according to the law or because they want to verify the validity of the will and see if the testator was in their sound mind when signing the will. In these instances, a self-proving affidavit attached to a will should suffice and make the probate process easier for the surviving loved ones. Read More
A self-proving affidavit is often used to acknowledge that a will or codicil was created with the testator’s own free will and that they were not, in any way, coerced to leave a will. This affidavit also includes a verification and affirmation in accordance with the law, that the witnesses have seen the testator signing the will or codicil in their presence. Furthermore, the affidavit is a sworn testimony of any one or all of the witnesses who signed the testator’s will. This legal document also provides an extra layer of protection, after the passing of the testator, to make sure that if the Last Will is questioned by anyone, the affidavit serves as a proof that it was signed under State Laws.
How To Write A Self-Proving Affidavit In Five Steps
A self-proving affidavit is a fairly short legal document that does not require legal expertise in creating one. Here’s a quick guide on how you can write a self-proving affidavit and have it ready in no time and ensure that the probate process is simpler for your family.
Write and prepare your will
A self-proving affidavit is used to acknowledge that a will was created on the testator’s own volition and was not made under duress or any form of coercion. So it is important to have this document as this will be the basis of the self-proving affidavit.
Find a self-proving affidavit form.
You may find a ready-made general affidavit online and write your own self-proving affidavit or you can make a non-state specific document for you to fill out from scratch. Either way, it should contain your verifiable biographical information. As a testator, you will be the affiant in the affidavit. Make sure that you are at least 18 years of age and of sound mind for your will to be valid as well as your affidavit. Most importantly, your self-proving affidavit should attest that you have written your will to your own volition so as to leave no question about your full mental capacity.
Gather your witnesses
Make sure that you check your state’s guidelines when it comes to a self-proving affidavit. Every state has different requirements on who are qualified to be witnesses of a will or unqualified to do so. To avoid further confusion and complications during probate, avoid having your beneficiaries as witnesses. Choose people whom you trust to execute your will and have your best interest in mind.
Get your affidavit signed by your witnesses and notarized by a notary public
In accordance with State laws, a self-proving affidavit must be witnessed by two people and signed and verified by a notary public. Accompanied by your witnesses, take your unsigned will and affidavit to the notary public. In their presence, sign the document so that they can attest to your mental faculty as well as to your identity. After you sign and the witnesses sign the affidavit, the notary public will stamp the document with an official seal and sign it off for validity.
Attach you self-proving affidavit to your last will and testament
After creating, signing, and having your self-proving affidavit notarized, attach it to your last will and testament or to your codicil. Barring state laws’ permission, this legal document will make sure that when your executor executes your will and takes action based on your last wishes, they have non-disputable proof of the validity of the will and dispels any questions about it. Make sure that you keep and store your will in a safe place and let your executor know where you kept it. Also, do not forget to inform them that you have attached a self-proving affidavit to your will.
How can a self-proving affidavit help prove the will?
Proving a last will and testament can be a long process and calling a witness to attest that the testator’s signature in the will is genuine and true and that they were of sound mind at the time of signing the document. By eliminating the need to bring in the witnesses to probate court, a self-proving affidavit makes the process easier and more efficient.
Why was my self-proving affidavit not admissible during court probate in my area?
You should check with your local court if self-[proving affidavits are permitted before creating one. There are some states in the US that do not allow self-proving affidavits. In the District of Columbia and state of Ohio, self-proving affidavits are not allowed; in Maryland and California, it’s not necessary, but you may include one. Should your witnesses’ presence are required in probate court, they don’t need to appear in the ordinary probate process. While in Vermont, if the witness is a notary public, the will in itself is already considered as self-proving without any other additional forms.
What happens if there is no self-proving affidavit attached to the last will and testament?
Nothing. Life is busy and adding another document to your to-do list can be stressful so you opt not to include a self-proving affidavit. However, a self-proving affidavit will only take a few hours to make and not something that will derail your plans for your will. It is a simple document that you put in place to ensure that your will is followed and executed to your wishes, and it can also save your loved ones the time, effort, and money as well as stave off complications arising from contentions of your will. It is a worthwhile step to smoothen the probate process for your grieving family.
Your last will and testament is an important part in the distribution of your estate after your passing. Make sure that you take your time to prepare it as it will help care for your loved ones’ future. As a sidekick to your will–the hero in this story, your self-proving affidavit will make its job faster and easier so it can be executed as instructions.