Probate is a process that establishes the validity of a will. This probate process starts when a person with the will passes away. Once the court confirms that the will is valid, the court will distribute the decedent’s property in accordance with the will.
Witnesses of a Will May Be Called Upon during Probate
Generally, a valid written will must be signed in front of witnesses. The witnesses insure that the person making the will is, in fact, the person the will purports to apply to, that the person appears to be of sound mind, and that there is no evidence of duress or other undue influence in the process.
When a will goes to probate (when the person dies), these witnesses sometimes need to be called into court to confirm that they were present when the will was signed, and that everything they have to attest to as witnesses to a will is true. However, it is not uncommon for these witnesses to die, or otherwise, become difficult to locate long before a will enters probate.
What Is a Self-Probating Will?
To avoid the issue of not being able to locate witnesses, a self-probating will can be used instead. When a will is drafted, the witnesses can simply attach affidavits to the document confirming that they were there, and attesting that they were present, and all the requirements for a valid will were met.
A self-probating will makes it much easier for a court to authenticate a will if the witnesses are deceased or cannot be found.
Consulting an Attorney
An estate lawyer can help you draft your will and help you with the probate process. Most of the time, people use lawyers to draft their wills to insure their validity.