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Signing a will: the crucial final step

On Behalf of | May 10, 2019 | Estate Planning, Firm News

When you create a will in Massachusetts, it is important to comply with the applicable laws to ensure its validity. After all, you will not be able to provide clarification as to your intentions during the reading of the will. We at the Law Offices of Roche and Roche remind you that there is one final step to creating your will, and that involves signing it. While it may seem like a simple matter, it is important to take just as much care at this point as you did during the drafting process, or it could call the entire document into question.

According to FindLaw, your signature is necessary to validate your will. Additionally, in Massachusetts and most other states, you must sign and date your will in the presence of two witnesses, who must attest to the validity of your signature by signing it as well. Your witnesses must not appear in your will as beneficiaries, and they must be at least 18 years of age. You cannot have your attorney witness your signature if he or she helped you to prepare your will. 

There is only one circumstance in which a will does not require the signatures of witnesses, and it only applies in certain jurisdictions. A handwritten will requires only the signature of the testator; witnesses are not necessary. The term for this is a holographic will, and only about half the states in the country recognize the validity of such a document. Massachusetts does not accept holographic wills.

More information about wills and estate planning is available on our website.