When it comes to estate planning, creating a last will and testament is one of the most important steps an individual can take to protect their loved ones after their death. While valid wills are legally binding documents, there are ways to further solidify them. One method to strengthen a will’s validity is to make it “self-proving.” However, other legal documents, such as trusts, codicils, and powers of attorney, can also be self-proving. A self-proving affidavit is the primary way to make a legal document self-proving.
Self-proving affidavits are necessary for those who want to make their estate planning documents self-proving, including wills. When a will is self-proving, its validity has already been established, making the probate process easier and faster. If you are considering whether to make your will self-proving, there are a few important factors you will need to be aware of. Read on to learn everything you should know about self-proving affidavits, legal requirements by state, and how to create and execute your self-proving affidavit.
For those who decide to make their wills self-proving, a self-proving affidavit will typically accompany a will to verify its validity. However, the laws surrounding these affidavits vary depending on the state where the will was created. Most states allow the use of self-proving affidavits. However, Maryland, Ohio, Vermont, and the District of Columbia do not provide this option, requiring all wills to be proven via the probate court after a testator’s death.
On the other hand, some states allow wills to be self-proving without using a self-proving affidavit. There is no need to create a self-proving affidavit in California, Illinois, Indiana, and Nevada. In these states, wills are automatically valid as long as they are signed and witnessed correctly. No additional steps are necessary to prove a will to the probate court. However, if you live in a state other than those listed above, having a self-proving affidavit can be a beneficial option to make your last will and testament ironclad.
In most cases, wills are valid without self-proving affidavits as long as they were created, signed, and witnessed correctly. However, while self-proving affidavits are not required, they can help establish a will’s validity and speed up the probate process. When wills do not have self-proving affidavits, the probate court will need to hear testimony from witnesses who can prove the will’s validity. This can be a time-consuming and expensive ordeal and may create additional stress for the testator’s family during an already difficult time.
Another point is that legal disputes and challenges surrounding wills are common. Suppose anyone decides to contest a will’s validity, such as claims of undue influence or reduced mental capacity on the testator’s part. In that case, the absence of a self-proving affidavit can introduce setbacks. Without this important document, it becomes much more difficult to defend a will’s validity in court, which opens the door for challenges and, ultimately, a drawn-out probate process.
If you live in a state where self-proving affidavits are offered as an estate planning option, it is highly recommended that you take advantage of this useful tool. Below is a short list of some of the most important reasons why you should consider making your will self-proving:
If you have a will that you’d like to make self-proving, you will need to obtain and fill out a self-proving affidavit form. It’s important to note that the specific requirements for self-proving affidavits vary by state. However, the process is generally straightforward. To make your will self-proving, follow the steps outlined below:
One of the best ways to draft your will, codicil, self-proving affidavit, or other important documents is through specialized online tools like TrustHandled. Designed to streamline the estate planning process, TrustHandled offers a variety of forms and templates to make each step quicker and easier. Avoid costly attorney’s fees and unnecessary in-office meetings using our foolproof guides, reliable customer support, and simplified user interface. Sign up with TrustHandled to get started on your estate plan today with a self-proving affidavit.