If one of the people that signed our Will has passed away, do we need to do anything?

UPDATED: Mar 17, 2013

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If one of the people that signed our Will has passed away, do we need to do anything?

Asked on March 17, 2013 under Estate Planning, New York


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

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

No you do not need to do anything. As long as your Will was properly witnessed as per applicable state law, then it is valid. If a witness subsequently pre-deceases a testator (i.e. the maker of the Will), there need be no further additional action taken.

That having been said, the easiest way to avoid potential confusion is to produce a new Will (which may also be a good idea depending on when the original Will was written) and have it witnessed by a new person.

It should be noted that while the death of witness' does not invalidate a Will, an executor will be required to produce proof that the original witness' signatures were valid. However, you need to be aware that Wills are rarely challenged on this basis.

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.

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