Can a relative sign as a witness in a will if not a beneficiary?

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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Can a relative sign as a witness in a will if not a beneficiary?

My daughter is not a beneficiary on my parents
Will only a back up executor,can she sign as a
witness on their will in California?

Asked on July 30, 2017 under Estate Planning, California


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

Yes, she can sign. Anyone over 18 can be a witness to a will, including a back-up executor. You do not need to be a beneficiary to sign. However, it would be better if you find someone who has no connection at all to the will to sign: while it is legal for an executor or beneficiary to sign, if the person signing stands to benefit in any way from the will (including indirectly, by the power an executor has), that can leave the will more vulnterable to a challenge. Wholly disininterested parties make the best witnesses.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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