What are they afraid of?
May 29, 2016 2:43am CST
As I explained in an earlier post, I wanted to write a new version of my will because the one I made before left things for the girls and didn't have any plan for what would happen if we should all be killed. In that case everything of mine would go to cousins who I have hardly seen in more than 30 years and who are already well-off, so I made a new version stipulating that in the event none of us is left, everything will be divided between my good friends and various charities. I wanted to get it done before we go on holiday, so it was quite urgent. Since we don't have a printer I went to the library to print it out. Apart from being made by an adult of sound mind, in writing, and not under coercion, the only other criterion for a will to be valid is that it should be signed by the testator (person making it) in the presence of two witnesses who also sign it. Well, this is surprisingly difficult as the two witnesses must not be beneficiaries, and since my 'last resort' plan mentioned all my family and friends by name I couldn't ask any of them. Since I was at the library I asked the staff there - all they have to do is watch me sign the piece of paper then sign it themselves, but of the five available people there, three of them refused and basically ran away (if you can imagine a librarian 'running away' quietly and skulking behind a bookshelf trying to look busy). What are they afraid of? Witnessing a document does not implicate them in anything or oblige them to do anything. In fact the only 'bad' aspect to it is that by asking them to be witnesses I am demonstrating that I have not left them anything - which is not surprising given that they are all strangers anyway. Have you ever been asked to witness a document and did you do it? If not why not? All rights reserved. © Text and image copyright Fleur 2016.
25 people like this
29 May 16
No idea. I think it is really silly to just run away. They are just witnesses, and even in the worst case, they will just have to end up in court and swear that you are the one who sign the will. Come to think about it, I wonder if you can prove you are who you are when you write the will! It will be very confusing if identical twin makes will for each other, and they pretend to be each other.
29 May 16
@Fleura Ya, they are just silly people. I think if you go to the police station, and ask the police to witness for you, they will probably put you through an hour interrogation before they sign for you! They will have to make sure that you are indeed of sound mind, and you are who you say you are.
• United States
29 May 16
I am so glad I came across this post. I have to change my will also. I never changed it since my divorce. I have to have my ex totally removed from it. I cannot take the chance of anything happening to me with the will that way. After I have a few medical things done I plan on going to get that done.
30 May 16
There can reasons for them not wanting to help you like few people are just scared that their signatures can be misused (Internet generation)...I know you could have given them identity proof but still some people don't like to get involved in other people's legal matters because they always fear that if something unusual happens they will be dragged in the matter unnecessarily...I hope this helps @Fleura :D
29 May 16
I have never been asked to witness a document. Our will is pretty easy and very clear that our children will share everything with the oldest in charge when we are gone. We went to our lawyer and he did it for us very quickly. Its been a long time since we did that and i don't remember what he charged us but I do know it was next to nothing.