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Who can be a witness for a legal document?

If a legal document requires witnesses' signatures, it should be signed by disinterested, third-party, adult witnesses.  Some states require that your document be signed by a lawyer or notary.  If you aren't sure whose signatures you'll need, you may want to double check with your county courthouse or use our OnCall® Attorney Services to ask a lawyer. 

 

Take, for example, a Will. A person should not be a witness, if that person is also a beneficiary. When a person acts as both a beneficiary and a witness, they are referred to as an 'interested witness.' In most states, an interested witness doesn't necessarily make the Will invalid, but it does prohibit the beneficiary/signatory from receiving a share of the estate any larger than if the writer had died without a Will. 

  

A detailed description of who is required to sign the document will be listed in the Legal Checklist.