How many witnesses are required for a valid will execution in Pennsylvania?

person signing document

Unfortunately, many people assume that writing a will is as simple as noting down your assets and how you would like them distributed upon your passing before signing your name and storing it safely. While these are important things to keep in mind for this process, writing a will is much more complex. To ensure the will is valid, states require witnesses present to ensure the creator was of sound mind when creating the document. As such, it’s important to understand how many witnesses you need if you plan on writing a will with the help of PA wills, trusts & estates attorneys.

How many witnesses do I need for my will?

When you create a will, there a number of considerations you must make to ensure the terms and conditions of your will are honored by the courts after your passing. Because you will not be alive to advocate for yourself, there are steps you must complete before passing to let the courts know that your will is legally valid.

Generally, to create a will, you must be of sound mind, meaning you understand the importance and implications of creating a will, and you must not be under duress. If you are under duress, or pressured to include terms and conditions that do not reflect your wishes, your document will not be deemed valid.

As such, Pennsylvania requires those creating a will to have two witnesses present to sign the will. Essentially, they are acknowledging the creator of the will was of sound mind, not under duress, and the will has not been forged. It’s important to understand that your witnesses must be over 18 and also of sound mind. It’s in your best interest to choose those who are “disinterested” in your will, meaning they will not inherit anything and therefore do not have a stake in the document.

How can an attorney help me through this process?

If you are ready to create a will, understanding the steps necessary to do so is critical. Generally, you’ll find that working with an attorney is in your best interest, as it allows you the opportunity to ensure that your will is legally binding and valid according to Pennsylvania state law.

In addition to ensuring you have the correct number of witnesses for your document, you’ll find that working with an attorney allows you to explore all of your legal options for creating a will. As such, you can ensure that your wishes are met and that your beneficiaries and assets will be cared for according to your desires upon your passing.

When you are ready to create your will, the team at Friedman Schuman is ready to assist you. We understand how complex these matters can be, which is why we are dedicated to fighting for you. Connect with us today to learn how we can fight for you during these matters.

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