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Attestation of witness in wills


A will is a legal document prepared by the testator, for execution for the benefit of beneficiaries after his death. However, there are many requirements for the validity of a will.

Among such requirements, is the presence and signature of witnesses. In most cases, two witnesses. Generally, a person making a will should execute it with the greatest degree of formality possible.

This means, signing the will in the presence of witnesses, informing that the document is a will, asking them to sign the will in his presence and each other’s presence.

The witnesses need to read the will and be aware of its contents. Need for a clause stating that, the witnesses observed the signing of the will and were asked to witness it is usually included.

This is known as attestation. There are no specific requirements for witnesses, however, they should understand their role and what they are signing.

Of greatest importance, the beneficiaries should not act as witnesses.

There are different types of wills. A holographic, is a will written completely by the maker him self, dated and signed. This type is not in need of witnesses because the handwriting is considered to be sufficient evidence of who signed the document.

In some countries , this type is not enforceable. The nuncupative type is oral will. In most countries, this type is acceptable only if made during the maker’s final illness ( dying declaration is of great importance in evidence) and in the presence of witnesses.

This type is usually taken to dispose personal property of limited value. Irrespective of the different types of wills , they are all for the same purpose.

However, it is required that, after the death of the maker, to put the will in writing and signed by the witnesses to whom it was orally made.

Normally, there is a para stating, the instrument was signed, published and declared by (name of maker) to be his last will and testament in our presence and we at his request and his presence and in the presence of each other subscribed our names as witnesses on the date indicated above.

Witnesses, must be ready at any time to be questioned about the contents of the will & what they had witnessed in full honesty. 

(The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the Daily Tribune)