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How many witnesses do you need for a will in Ohio?

On Behalf of | Apr 20, 2023 | Estate Planning

If you’re writing a will, it’s very important for it to be well established that it actually aligns with your intentions. No one is forcing you into creating the document in a certain way or trying to influence your decisions – known legally as undue influence. You are honestly choosing to distribute your assets in that fashion.

To ensure that this happens, states require that there are witnesses. A witness could be a lawyer who is involved with the process or perhaps a paralegal. But how many witnesses do you need?

Two witnesses are required in Ohio

As with most states, Ohio requires that there are two witnesses to the signing of the will. That’s why both your lawyer and the office paralegal will often do so.

You may believe that you could bring a family member with you. Couldn’t your spouse be a witness as you sign the will, and then you could be the witness for your spouse? 

But this doesn’t work because you are not allowed to choose a witness who is going to have an interest in your estate. You can’t choose someone who is going to get a bequest, for instance, like one of your heirs. You need to have an uninterested third party who has nothing to lose or gain by making an accurate statement if necessary. After all, if there is a dispute over the validity of the will, the witness may be brought to court to give their testimony.

Working through the legal process

In order for an estate plan to be effective, it has to be set up properly and in accordance with the law. Be sure you know about all the legal steps you need to take to do so.