Can a relative witness a Will if they are not mentioned in it?

Get Legal Help Today

 Secured with SHA-256 Encryption

Can a relative witness a Will if they are not mentioned in it?

I made an online Will needing 2 witnesses to sign with me. I left everything to my kids. Is it legal for a grandchild or cousin who is not in the will to be a witness. Also, there is no place for a notary signature. Is that not needed?

Asked on July 21, 2018 under Estate Planning, Maryland

Answers:

M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

First of all, a Will need not be notarized. That having been said, if someone has what is known as a "self-proving affidavit", then it must be notarized. Such an affidavit does away with the need to locate the witnesses when the Will is filed with the probate court. As for who can be a witness to a Will, as a general rule,a family member can act as a witness but due to potential conflicts of interst, using a relative as a witness could prove potentially problematic if they are a named beneficiary in the Will. If not, then there should be no problem although it is preferred that non-family members witness the testator's signature.

M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

First of all, a Will need not be notarized. That having been said, if someone has what is known as a "self-proving affidavit", then it must be notarized. Such an affidavit does away with the need to locate the witnesses when the Will is filed with the probate court. As for who can be a witness to a Will, as a general rule,a family member can act as a witness but due to potential conflicts of interst, using a relative as a witness could prove potentially problematic if they are a named beneficiary in the Will. If not, then there should be no problem although it is preferred that non-family members witness the testator's signature.


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 AttorneyPages.com 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.

Get Legal Help Today

Find the right lawyer for your legal issue.

 Secured with SHA-256 Encryption