Is a Will that that has not been witnessed valid?

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Is a Will that that has not been witnessed valid?

A Will was created 19 years ago with a lawyer. Then, 9 years later, it was amended and changed. That Will was sent to the client but wasn’t signed until a year later and was never sent back to the lawyer (so they didn’t have it on file). Also, there were no witness signatures on the revised Will. Is the original Will still valid?

Asked on May 30, 2015 under Estate Planning, Illinois

Answers:

M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

There are several requirements to be met in order for a Will to be valid. One of which is having the maker's signature witnessed (typically by 2 witnessess). This entails that the witnesses not only see the maker physically sign it but also having the witnesses sign it as well. Without being properly witnessed, a Will has no legal force or effect. Accordingly, the original Will stands (assuming that it was properly witnessed, etc.).


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