Free Self-Proving Affidavit Forms [for Last Will] – Word | PDF

A self-proving affidavit form is a document that is signed by the testator and two witnesses in the presence of a notary public as proof that the testator signed their last will on their own free will.

The document is validated by the signatures of the testator, two witnesses, and the notary public (notarized), and then it is attached to the last will.

The primary purpose of a self-proving affidavit is to prove that a testator’s last will is legally valid during probate and the two witnesses declare under oath that they witnessed the testator sign the last will. This way, the testator ensures there will be no disputes after their death, for the self-affidavit can be used as proof of the will’s validity if this is questioned after his or her demise. Attaching a self-affidavit to a will consequently makes it self-proved.

Importance of Self-Proving Affidavit Form

After the demise of a testator, their will has to go through the probate court before the distribution of inheritance. Probate courts have to prove the authenticity of the will. A lawfully valid will has to be witnessed. Witnesses confirm that the presented will is actually the one the testator signed to. Instead of having the witnesses come in, a self-proving affidavit is enough proof for a probate court. It is taken as the witnesses’ sworn written testimony to witnessing the will signing, even if the witnesses are unavailable during the probate process.

This way, through a self-affidavit, the family and loved ones avoid the inconveniences associated with the probate process. The transferor distribution of property is thus timely executed, saving time for the family, and the estate executor can carry out their obligations with non-disputable proof of the will’s validity.

For a self-affidavit to be valid, the following requirements must be satisfied:

  • The testator and the appointed witnesses must be 18 years or older
  • Signatories to the self-affidavit must be of sound mind
  • The document must be made and signed by the testator
  • The two witnesses should not be beneficiaries under the testator’s will

Self-Proving Affidavit VS. Attestation Clause

Other than a self-proving affidavit, the authenticity of a Last Will and Testament can be proven by an attestation clause. Just like a self-proving affidavit, an attestation clause declares that the witnesses are of legal age and the signing of the will was in accordance with state laws.

Despite their similarities, a self-affidavit differs from an attestation clause in certain ways. An attestation clause is inserted in the will, where else a self-approving affidavit form is a separate official document that is attached to the will.

Also, an attestation clause is primarily proof of the legality of a will and is not considered proof that the testator signed the will willingly. Therefore, it is not a consideration when it comes to the execution of the will – witnesses would still have to appear during probate to issue their testimony.  Consequently, if the witnesses are unavailable during probate, the process would have to be delayed for the court cannot conclusively prove that the will represents the testator’s wishes. This is not the case if a self-proving affidavit is in place.

The testation clause is signed during the signing of the will, where else a self-proving affidavit is signed separately and in the presence of a notary public. Basically, the attestation clause only provides evidence of the authenticity of the signatures.

Filling a Self-Proving Affidavit Form

For a legally enforceable document, every detail is of importance. As a testator, the last thing you want is a self-proving affidavit that does not serve its intended purposes in the long run. To have a clear understanding of how to come up with an effective self-proving affidavit, this article will provide a step-to-step guide for testators to follow.

Select the concerned documents

Firstly, gather all the documents and parties relevant to the signing of a self-proving affidavit – this includes the last will being referred to, a self-affidavit form, two witnesses, and the notary public. The witnesses should have valid identifications with them for verification.

Note: you can consider taking the help of a lawyer to help you craft an up-to-standard will.

Input state-specific location

Secondly, indicate which state under the jurisdiction the document falls under. This is normally the testator’s state of residence. Indicate the county as well. Different states will have different guidelines when it comes to probate and hence the need to include the affidavit’s jurisdiction. It is vital to note that even though most states permit the use of a self-proving affidavit, there are exceptions, such as Ohio.

Identify the verifying witnesses

Thirdly, the affidavit should identify the individuals witnessing the Last Will and Testament. Each witness should be identified by their legal name. At this juncture, the notary public can verify their identity, hence the need for identification documentation.

State purpose of the document

Next, the witness statement should follow. This is normally pre-written in the self-affidavit form provided by the probate court. The statement should indicate the document being witnessed – the Last Will and Testament. The title of the will should be written down. Fundamentally, the witness statement should declare that the witnesses are signing under oath, the testator signs the document willingly and that the witnesses are of legal age.

Sign the document

After the witness statement has been reviewed and understood, the signatories to the affidavit should then sign the document. It is recommended that the signing of the affidavit be done at the same time when the will is being signed. However, probate courts ordinarily accept affidavits signed at a later date. The testator signs the affidavit first, followed by the witness. Next to the signatures, the date of signing should be provided.

Notarize

Lastly, there should be a declaration that the notary public witnessed the signing of the affidavit. The notarizing declaration should state the date of witnessing and the testator’s identity. The name of the notary public should be provided as well as the date when his or her commission expires. Finally, they should provide their official stamp/seal, and the affidavit becomes notarized and legally enforceable.

Note: In most states, a self-proving affidavit is not needed to prove the authenticity of a will and for it to be legally enforceable. An affidavit is usually a supplementary document to smoothen the probate process. In a state like Washington D.C, with or without a self-proving affidavit, probate is necessary to validate a will. Testators can use the help of a notary public in some states like Vermont, to create a self-proving. Therefore, one does not need to create an affidavit themselves.

Free Forms

Following are some free downloadable templates for you;

Self Proving Affidavit Form 01
Self Proving Affidavit Form 02
Self Proving Affidavit Form 03
Self Proving Affidavit Form 04
Self Proving Affidavit Form 05
Self Proving Affidavit Form 06

    Forms by State

    Signing Requirements by State

    The signing of a self-proving affidavit is typically governed by state laws. In this regard, these requirements will vary depending on the state. The following states have the signing requirements as follows:

    StateSigning requirementsState law
    AlabamaTwo Witnesses and Notary PublicAlabama Code, Section 43-8-132
    ArizonaTwo Witnesses and Notary PublicArizona Revised Statutes, Section 14-2504
    AlaskaTwo Witnesses and Notary PublicAlaska Statutes, Section 13.12.504
    ArkansasTwo Witnesses and Notary PublicArkansas Annotated Code, Section 28-25-106
    ColoradoTwo Witnesses and Notary PublicColorado Revised Statutes, Section 15-11-504
    CaliforniaOne WitnessCalifornia Probate Code, Section 8220
    ConnecticutOne or more Witnesses and Notary PublicConnecticut Revised Statutes, Chapter 802b, Section 45a-285
    DelawareTwo Witnesses and Notary PublicDelaware Code, Title 12, Section 1305
    FloridaTwo Witnesses and Notary PublicFlorida Statutes, Section 732.503
    GeorgiaTwo (2) Witnesses and Notary PublicGeorgia Code, Section 53-4-24
    HawaiiTwo (2) Witnesses and Notary PublicHawaii Revised Statutes, Section 560:2-504
    IdahoTwo (2) Witnesses and Notary PublicIdaho Statutes, Section 15-2-504
    IndianaNot RequiredIndiana Code, Section 29-1-5-3.1
    IllinoisTwo (2) WitnessesThe Illinois Compiled Statutes, Chapter 755, Section 5/6-4
    IowaTwo (2) Witnesses and Notary PublicIowa Code, Section 633.279
    KansasTwo (2) Witnesses and Notary PublicKansas Statute, Section 59-606
    KentuckyTwo (2) Witnesses and Notary PublicKentucky Revised Statutes, Section 394.225
    LouisianaNot Permitted
    MaineTwo (2) Witnesses and Notary PublicMaine Probate Code, Title 18-C, Section 2-503
    MarylandNot Permitted
    MassachusettsTwo (2) Witnesses and Notary PublicMassachusetts General Laws, Chapter 190B, Section 2-504
    MichiganTwo (2) Witnesses and Notary PublicMichigan Compiled Laws, Section 700.2504
    MinnesotaTwo (2) Witnesses and Notary PublicMinnesota Statutes, Section 524.2-504
    MississippiTwo (2) Witnesses and Notary PublicMississippi Annotated Code, Section 91-7-10
    MissouriTwo (2) Witnesses and Notary PublicMissouri Revised Statutes, Section 474.337
    MontanaTwo (2) Witnesses and Notary PublicMontana Annotated Code, Section 72-2-524
    New HampshireNot RequiredNew Hampshire Revised Statutes, Section 551:2-a
    NevadaTwo (2) Witnesses and a Notary PublicThe Nevada Revised Statutes, Sections 133.050 and 133.055
    NebraskaTwo (2) Witnesses and Notary PublicNebraska Revised Statutes, Section 30-2329
    New JerseyTwo (2) Witnesses and Notary PublicNew Jersey Statutes, Section 3B:3-4
    New MexicoTwo (2) Witnesses and Notary PublicNew Mexico Annotated Statutes, Section 45-2-504
    New YorkOne or more Witnesses and Notary PublicNew York Court Acts, Section 1406
    North CarolinaTwo (2) Witnesses and Notary PublicNorth Carolina General Statutes, Section 31-11.6
    North DakotaTwo (2) Witnesses and Notary PublicNorth Dakota Century Code, Section 30.1-08-04
    OhioNot permitted
    OklahomaTwo (2) Witnesses and Notary PublicOklahoma Statutes, Section 84-55
    OregonOne or more Witnesses and Notary PublicOregon Revised Statutes, Section 113.055
    PennsylvaniaTwo (2) Witnesses and a Notary PublicThe Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes, Title 20, Section 3132.1
       
    South CarolinaTwo (2) Witnesses and Notary PublicSouth Carolina Code of Laws, Section 62-2-503
    South DakotaTwo (2) Witnesses and Notary PublicSouth Dakota Codified Laws, Section 29A-2-504
       
    Rhode IslandOne or more Witnesses and Notary PublicRhode Island General Laws, Section 33-7-26
    TennesseeOne or more Witnesses and Notary PublicTennessee Code Annotated, Section 32-2-110
    TexasTwo (2) Witnesses and Notary PublicTexas Statutes, Estates Code, Section 251.104
    UtahTwo (2) Witnesses and Notary PublicUtah Code, Section 75-2-504
    VermontTwo (2) Witnesses and Notary PublicVermont Statutes, Title 14, Section 108
    VirginiaTwo (2) Witnesses and Notary PublicVirginia Code, Section 64.2-452
    WashingtonOne or more Witnesses and Notary PublicWashington Revised Code, Section 11.20.020
    West VirginiaOne or more Witnesses and Notary PublicWest Virginia Code, Section 41-5-15
    WisconsinTwo (2) Witnesses and Notary PublicWisconsin Statutes and Annotations, Section 853.04
    WyomingTwo (2) Witnesses and Notary PublicWyoming Statutes, Section 2-6-114

    Frequently Asked Questions

    What are the consequences of not having a Self-Proving Affidavit?

    A self-proving affidavit is normally optional; therefore, there are no legal ramifications for not attaching it to a will. However, in its absence, the probate process is likely to take longer, cost more money, and inflict inconveniences to your family and beneficiaries during probate, especially if a third party question its authenticity.

    Which documents can a Self-Proving Affidavit be attached to?

    A self-proving affidavit is customarily attached to a will or a Codicil. This is to prove the validity of the will and speed up the probate process. This is because a will only become legally effective after the testator dies, and in his or her absence, a self-proving affidavit provides the probate court a legal alternative of proving whether the will is genuine.

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