Witnessing Document Executions

Shelley Mactyre, an attorney in Hillsboro, Oregon, who practices estate planning, probate, and small business law, posted her thoughts on document witnesses on her blog.

I hate the idea of using random office people as witnesses to clients’ wills.

The preference of using disinterested friends as they typically offer better testimony should the capacity of the signor ever be questioned is a wise one. However, I prefer using my assistant because many clients are not comfortable with even their close friends being so intimately aware with the details of the disposition of their property and person. Oftentimes clients will give different amounts of money to different children because of that child’s unique circumstances – these are things they don’t tell their friends, they only tell their estate planning attorney and to the extent that I can hold their confidences in my office I prefer to do so.

If you’re concerned about your clients capacity, some notes taken contemporaneously to the execution will go a long way to diffusing a potential contest

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