What Is A Self-Proving Will?

On Behalf of | Jul 19, 2023 | Estate Planning |

A self-proving will, also known as a self-proved will, is a legal document that includes an additional affidavit that is signed alongside the will itself. This affidavit serves to provide evidence of the will’s validity and authenticity. In Washington State, like in many other jurisdictions, self-proving wills are recognized and accepted as valid means of establishing the wishes of the testator (the person making the will) after their death.

To create a self-proving will in Washington State, there are specific requirements that must be met:

1. Age and capacity: The testator must be at least 18 years old and of sound mind to create a valid will.

2. Testamentary intent: The document must clearly express the testator’s intent to distribute their property upon their death.

3. Writing: Washington State requires that the will be in writing. It can be typed or handwritten, but a handwritten will, also known as a holographic will, must be entirely in the testator’s handwriting.

4. Signature: The testator must sign the will at the end of the document, indicating their approval and acknowledgment of its contents.

5. Witnesses: The will must be witnessed by at least two individuals who are at least 18 years old and not beneficiaries of the will. The witnesses must be present at the same time as the testator when the will is signed.

In addition to these general requirements, to create a self-proving will, the testator and witnesses must also complete an affidavit, which is a sworn statement that attests to the authenticity of the will. The affidavit, along with the will, is then notarized.

The affidavit typically includes the following elements:

1. Identification: The full legal names and addresses of the testator and witnesses.

2. Statement of competence: The affidavit affirms that the testator is of sound mind and fully aware of the contents of the will.

3. Execution: The affidavit confirms that the will was executed in compliance with Washington State law, including the presence of witnesses.

By creating a self-proving will, the testator and witnesses eliminate the need for the witnesses to appear in court to validate the will after the testator’s death. This simplifies and expedites the probate process, as the court can accept the will as self-proven without the need for additional testimony or evidence of its validity.

In summary, a self-proving will in Washington State is a testamentary document that includes an affidavit, signed and notarized by the testator and witnesses, which serves as evidence of the will’s validity. By following the specific requirements and properly executing a self-proving will, the testator can provide a clear and legally recognized expression of their wishes for the distribution of their property after death.

If you need help with a will, contact our office at (206) 408-8158.