Who Can Witness the Execution of a Will?

By Jed McKeehan

So you would like to make a will, who do you need present to witness your will execution? Tennessee Code Annotated Section 32-1-104 states that you must have two disinterested witnesses to the will’s execution.
What does “disinterested” mean? Disinterested means that the witness does not receive any gift or bequest under the will.
The witnesses must witness the person making the will sign it. Then the witnesses must sign the will in the presence of the person making the will, and in the presence of each other.
If a witness to a will is someone who receives a bequest under the will, then they forfeit any gift they would receive under the will that would be above what they would receive if the person had died without a will.
What about a holographic will? A holographic will is a will that is not typed up by an attorney, but is a will written in the handwriting of the person who is saying what they want to give to whom if they pass. The holographic will doesn’t need two witnesses. In fact, a holographic will doesn’t need any witnesses at signature. However, the handwriting of the individual writing the will must be proved by two witnesses after that individual’s death.

Jedidiah McKeehan is an attorney practicing in Knox County and surrounding counties. He works in many areas, including criminal, personal injury, landlord-tenant, probate, and estate planning. Visit attorney-knoxville.com for more information about this legal issue and other legal issues.

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