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How many witnesses have to sign a will?

When drafting a will, one of your goals should be writing things out so that there will be no confusion or infighting after you have passed away. You don't want to create a situation where people are challenging your will and disputing its claims.

Therefore, it's best to have your will legally drafted and then sign it yourself, while your witnesses are watching. Some people are tempted to sign the will on their own and then just show it to the witnesses, who are verifying that it's real, but this can leave the door open to a contested will. A family member could argue that the witnesses never actually saw the documents being signed, so it should not count.

In Arizona, you need to have two witnesses. After they watch you sign, they also sign their names to the document. This is solid proof that you agreed to the terms laid out in the will. They can testify that they saw you put your signature on it, even if they didn't see you draft it. Each witness can then also testify that he or she watched the other witness sign.

This may feel like overkill to you, especially if you're expecting your family to accept the will without any complaints. However, unexpected arguments often crop up when people are not happy with the way a will has been written. Never assume they'll agree with it, and be sure you take the proper legal steps to get all of the documentation firmly in place. Part of the legacy left by your will can be keeping the family together and keeping them happy, rather than driving them apart.

Source: FIndLaw, "Signing a Will," accessed Aug. 17, 2016

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