Do It Right Or Don’t Do It At All! Validly Executed Will In Washington State

Dick BeresfordStated differently, “a job worth doing is a job worth doing right”. The Washington Statute, RCW 11.12.020, requires that a will to be validly executed, must, among other requirements, be attested by two or more competent witnesses  while in the presence of the testator (person signing their will). In light of these statutory requirements, our office policy is to require the testator to physically come into the office to execute their will. Why are we so particular?  A look at a recent Washington Court of Appeals Division I case in the Estate of Hook, 193 Wn. App. 862 answers this question emphatically. This case dealt with a situation where the testator signed the will along with one witness in Arizona. The will was later signed by a second witness in Washington, but not in the presence of the testator. The Court held that the will was executed in Washington, not in Arizona, and the will was not validly executed because the second witness did not sign in the testator’s presence. The moral to this story is that if you are going execute a will, do it right. The will must be executed in the presence of two witnesses. So when your lawyer asks you to come to his or her office to execute your will, the lawyer has good reason to make this request.

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