In every state there are laws that pertain to what makes a Will valid. In Colorado, a Will must be signed by the testator, the person who had the Will drafted, as well as two witnesses. Each witness must either see the testator sign the Will or be told by the testator that the signature on the Will is his or hers and they must sign the Will in the testator’s presence as well as in the presence of the other witness.
When the testator dies, the Will is authenticated in a Probate Court and the estate is then administered. A self-proving Will allows the witnesses to avoid a court appearance to re-affirm the signatures within the Will. It also provides an additional layer of authentication that can help your beneficiaries avoid a long, drawn out probate process. A self-proving Will can be particularly helpful when one or more of your witnesses cannot be located or they have since passed away.
A self-proving Will, or a self-proving affidavit attached to a Will, acts as a substitute for the live testimony of each of the witnesses. It simply certifies that the witnesses and testator properly signed the Will. Since the witness swears an oath during the signing of the affidavit, it is presumed to be truthful and is used in lieu of live testimony, which is not only convenient, but allows a more timely validation of the will. The self-proving affidavit is normally signed at the same time as the signing and execution of the Will.
Working with an estate planning attorney not only ensures your estate planning documents are valid and legal, but ensures that your family’s needs and goals are met within the estate plan.