Your witnesses must sign your will and include their names and addresses in front of one another and in your presence. Your signature and the signatures of your witnesses will follow the end of your will. Your witnesses are important and will help authenticate or validate your will, if necessary. Your witnesses must be able to testify that you were of “sound mind and memory” to create a binding contract or will. This requires that your witnesses can testify that you understood the implications of creating a will, you knew what your estate included and you knew the “natural objects of your bound” or your relatives.
Typically, when someone files your will, that person must provide the court with a Petition or Affidavit of Subscribing Witnesses. The New York Surrogate’s Court Procedure Act also requires a petitioner filing a will to admit into probate to take other legal steps notifying your heirs and creditors of your death. The Petition or Affidavit of Subscribing Witnesses is a document that provides the Surrogate’s Court with proof that the decedent’s witnesses actually witnessed the signing of the decedent’s signature and that the decedent had the legal capacity to create a binding will. Note that you can contact us to help you create a self-proving will. By creating a self-proving will, your witnesses may not have to provide the Surrogate’s Court with this document to authenticate and validate your will.