March 28

Can a family member be a witness to a will

Cortes Law Firm Oklahoma City Estate Planning Attorney

Can a family member be involved in the signing of my Will?

 Again, this is another great question, because a lot of times when somebody is dying, the family will get together and they will put together a last will and testament and they know they need witnesses and they'll just grab a son or daughter or son in law or a daughter in law or a cousin to come in and be a witness and it really depends on your jurisdiction. But I think you can probably see what can go wrong with this, because if it is a family member who's putting together this last will and testament, in other words, it's not the person who is dying who's actually deciding where everything is going. The particular family member just I'm just going to make sure that everybody gets what I think that they should get and what I think is fair, not what the person who's dying thinks is fair. Right.

Situations that happen

I think you can see where this would open it up for a lot of fraud and unscrupulous and bad actors to come into place. So where we have seen this happen sometimes is where a son or daughter thinks that they're the ones because they've taken care of mom or dad for the last five years. They think that everything should go to them when they're in reality, they're still two or three other siblings or maybe four siblings. And the estate should actually be split up four different ways. So that son or daughter who's been taking care of them writes up a last will and testament really quickly and says, Mom, Dad, this is what you wanted, right? You wanted me to have everything right. And then they have their spouse or somebody else come in as a witness.

Independent notary

 So it's just a bad idea. It depends on your jurisdiction where whether or not a family member can legally be a witness to your last will and testament. I will tell you that I would not recommend it at all. I would make sure you have independent witnesses. You have an independent notary come in and you make sure that whoever is administering the signing of the last will and testament ask questions of everybody, including the person that is dying. I would actually have them read it to them and say, Is this actually what you want to happen? Do you really want all of your estate to go to this particular child when you have four other children and you might even film that to make certain that there is a record of exactly what went down?

The icky test

The reality is it just depends on your jurisdiction, whether or not a family member can be a witness. But I don't think it passes that icky test. And I think if a family member is signing as a witness, there automatically is a red flag that some type of potential fraud or undue duress happened. So if you can avoid it, go to an estate planning attorney, even if your relative is on their deathbed and have them privately interview your relative and have the estate planning attorney draft a document that is exactly what your dying relative wants and not what you think that they want. That's a very important distinction.

Estate Planning

 I know I've thrown a lot at you today, so that's why we've prepared our free guide on estate planning. I'll put a link to it in the description below and in the comment section below that so that you can download it and get started in the right direction and to help you out even more. Watch this video up here and this video up here. If you enjoy this video, then guys, please smash that subscribe button and click on the like button. And also click on that little bell so you'll get notified every time we post a new video. Have a great day. And an awesome week. And as always, thanks for watching.

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Cortes Law Firm

5801 Broadway Extension Hwy Suite 110

Oklahoma City, OK, 73118



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