It is traditional procedure for Will signings to be witnessed. Normally, there would be two witnesses over the age of eighteen to witness the signing of a Will. In Vermont, there would need to be three witnesses. It is not a bad idea, but not necessary to have a Notary Public be one of the witnesses.
A Notary Public does not normally notarized the principal’s signature on a Will unless an Attorney asks them to in writing. However, it is not a bad idea for a Notary Public to notarized the signatures of the witnesses at a Will signing for a Last Will and Testament.
It is very critical for a will to be signed using the same name variation that is printed below the signature line. It is also critical that the signature is dated appropriately. The signature must be at the end or bottom of the document. Witnesses must not only sign, but also print their name very clearly and legibly below their signatures and the date.
It is a good practice for the witnesses to inscribe (write) their address and perhaps phone number as well should they need to be contacted by investigators at any time for any reason. The witnesses should not only see the principal signer sign, but should also witness each other sign.
When choosing witnesses, be advised that they might have to be questioned or even appear in court after the fact. The closer their know you the better. However, the fact that they know you and/or watched you sign is technically enough. The witnesses should not have a beneficial interest or financial interest in the signing of the Will. So, it is better to have people know you, but not people who are inheriting money, rights or property from you as witnesses to the signing.
Once the will is signed, you should make photocopies, and can consider having your Attorney, executors, and/or document custodians have possession of the copies. Please consult your Attorney to make sure you have the correct party having possession of your will. And if amendments need to be made, the document custodian will need to have the revised edition. The actual documents should be saved in a safe, dry place — perhaps a file drawer or lock box.
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