What are they afraid of?

@Fleura (7194)
United Kingdom
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
28 responses
@ilocosboy (35922)
• Philippines
29 May 16
That is a noble purpose. But isn't too early for you to do this?
2 people like this
@Fleura (7194)
• United Kingdom
29 May 16
Of course as long as I stay alive it won't be necessary, and I will have to update it again before too long, but if people do die suddenly without leaving a will it makes things very difficult. And unexpected things do happen!
3 people like this
@ilocosboy (35922)
• Philippines
29 May 16
@Fleura but I know its more to caring than preparation of uncertainty of life
1 person likes this
@silvermist (20085)
• India
29 May 16
@lilocosboy,I agree with @Fleura,in these uncertain times,nothing is too early.
2 people like this
@scheng1 (24748)
• Singapore
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.
2 people like this
@Fleura (7194)
• United Kingdom
29 May 16
I could have produced my passport but they didn't ask for it.
1 person likes this
@scheng1 (24748)
• Singapore
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.
1 person likes this
@Inlemay (16729)
• South Africa
29 May 16
how horrid of them to not be willing to help you. Anyone can witness a document, some people think you are going to get thing into trouble or something.
2 people like this
@Fleura (7194)
• United Kingdom
29 May 16
I do wonder what they thought might happen, but I couldn't really grill them on exactly why they refused!
1 person likes this
@xFiacre (4828)
• Ireland
29 May 16
@fleura Im often asked to sign documents - wills, passport applications etc. I'm happy to oblige.
2 people like this
@Fleura (7194)
• United Kingdom
29 May 16
Glad to hear it, it's very helpful and so difficult if you can't find anyone!
@boiboing (12882)
• Northampton, England
29 May 16
I often sign passport photos for people at work. It doesn't bother me at all - but I can imagine that people are wary of signing for total strangers.
1 person likes this
@Fleura (7194)
• United Kingdom
29 May 16
Maybe, I wish I knew!
@boiboing (12882)
• Northampton, England
29 May 16
@Fleura Pop round and I'll sign anything for you.
1 person likes this
@Fleura (7194)
• United Kingdom
29 May 16
@boiboing You should be careful, you're not that far away, I might just turn up for a coffee one day!
@inertia4 (27713)
• 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.
1 person likes this
@Fleura (7194)
• United Kingdom
29 May 16
Getting married or divorced automatically invalidates a will anyway, so you'd better get on the case!
1 person likes this
@inertia4 (27713)
• United States
29 May 16
@Fleura I will. I have to get that changed. I want to leave everything to my kids. And I will have some stipulations in there as well.
1 person likes this
@nanette64 (17858)
• Fairfield, Texas
29 May 16
If asked @Fleura , I would do so. I took mine to the bank where I do business. The cashiers signed the will.
1 person likes this
@Fleura (7194)
• United Kingdom
29 May 16
I did think about that but unfortunately it was Saturday afternoon and banks were closed!
1 person likes this
@nanette64 (17858)
• Fairfield, Texas
29 May 16
@Fleura Oh crud; it figures. lol.
1 person likes this
@Hatley (164507)
• Garden Grove, California
5 Jun 16
my will would be very sim,ple as my son is m y only immediate family so it would all go to him. lol
1 person likes this
@epiffanie (10408)
• Australia
3 Jun 16
Yes it's weird how some people are scared of signing as a witness ..
1 person likes this
@Fleura (7194)
• United Kingdom
7 Jun 16
Some people are afraid of putting their name to anything on paper - which is funny because they willingly sign up to electronic surveillance in all sort of ways!
30 May 16
All I can see now are three delicate librarians hiding behind shelves of books, furtively glancing out waiting for you to leave their safe place so they can get on with library stuff!
1 person likes this
@Fleura (7194)
• United Kingdom
7 Jun 16
It was pretty much like that! Except that two of the staff who refused were male so perhaps not as delicate-looking as in your imagination!
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
1 person likes this
@Fleura (7194)
• United Kingdom
7 Jun 16
I guess perhaps they just don't understand. Luckily two people were kind enough to help. And even more luckily I'm still alive so it won't be necessary!
@GardenGerty (101842)
• United States
30 May 16
I think I have witnessed marriage licenses. I guess if I was asked, and I understood, I would do it.
1 person likes this
@Fleura (7194)
• United Kingdom
7 Jun 16
Glad you were able to help someone!
@BelleStarr (39631)
• United States
29 May 16
I certainly have and would not hesitate to do so. Maybe they were afraid that if the will ws ever contested they would be called in to testify!!
1 person likes this
@Fleura (7194)
• United Kingdom
7 Jun 16
They must have imagined something like that I suppose!
1 person likes this
@garymarsh6 (14417)
• United Kingdom
29 May 16
We are advised not to do this at work but there are admin people who will witness it in an emergency only!
1 person likes this
@Fleura (7194)
• United Kingdom
7 Jun 16
Do you know why you are advised against it?
@Shiva49 (13839)
• Singapore
29 May 16
I have never refused but paused to think over as it does not happen often! siva
1 person likes this
@Fleura (7194)
• United Kingdom
29 May 16
Glad you have been able to help someone.
1 person likes this
@unisa000 (67)
29 May 16
I am afraid of loneliness. I don't like to be alone forever. Not that I am desperate to have a partner but I just do not want to be alone.
1 person likes this
@Fleura (7194)
• United Kingdom
29 May 16
I'm sorry to hear that. However my discussion is about something completely different!
• China
29 May 16
I don't know much about how you make a will over there.It seems that they have some misgivings about doing that.Maybe they are afraid of getting involved in property dispute,so think the less trouble the better.
1 person likes this
@Fleura (7194)
• United Kingdom
29 May 16
I guess they are afraid they might get dragged into something, but really that possibility is so remote I can't imagine it has ever happened.
1 person likes this
@PainsOnSlate (20422)
• Canada
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.
1 person likes this
@Fleura (7194)
• United Kingdom
29 May 16
Mine wasn't too complicated either - until I thought about what would happen if we all die together (in a plane crash for example). That's what prompted this revision.
1 person likes this
@jaboUK (54878)
• United Kingdom
29 May 16
I've witnessed an aquaintance's will - he wasn't a stranger but I didn't really know him. It was no bother to me.
1 person likes this
@Fleura (7194)
• United Kingdom
29 May 16
I'm sure he appreciated it, it is difficult if you have everything sorted and written down but you know it isn't valid until witnessed and you can't get anyone to do it for you!
1 person likes this
• Philippines
29 May 16
I can't blame them if they're afraid of something they don't know or not aware of. They feel that it may be used against them in teh future some day.
1 person likes this
@Fleura (7194)
• United Kingdom
29 May 16
It's funny, these are educated people, I thought they would understand!