Sep 12, 2010

Self-Proving Affidavits: Avoiding a Trip To Court

self-proving Will.jpgLiza: Help. What is a self-proving affidavit why do I need one? A self-proving affidavit is a statement, sworn to be true under penalty of perjury, signed by the witnesses who watched you sign your Will. The affidavit says that they swear that you signed the will according to law. In California this means that you appeared to be of sound mind (i.e. not crazy) and that no one made you sign the Will under duress. If it's there, then you have what's called "A Self-Proving Will."  It's nice to have a self-proving Will because later, hopefully much later, when you die and the Will is submitted to probate, your witnesses won't be called to testify to prove that your Will is valid. It's "self-proving" because the affidavit stating that the Will is valid is already attached to the Will itself. If there's a challenge to the Will's validity in probate, the witnesses might be called in to testify, but that's up to the judge, and most Wills aren't challenged anyway. Look to see if the Will you're about to sign has an extra page after your signature where the witnesses swear that you appeared to be of sound mind and not acting under duress.  If it's there, you're set; If it's not there, you don't have a self-proving Will. Nolo's Online Will and WillMaker software will create the affidavit, as will any estate planning attorney.