What is a Self-Proving Affidavit?
A self-proving affidavit is a sworn statement that accompanies a Will. In the case of an attested Will, the testator and all witnesses sign it in the presence of a notary.
The self-proving affidavit affirms that the testator properly signed the Will in the presence of two witnesses.
Is it Necessary to Include a Self-Proving Affidavit?
The absence of a self-proving affidavit does not invalidate a Will.
However, having a self-proved Will is beneficial because it eliminates the need for witnesses to appear in a probate proceeding to prove the Will is valid.
Proving up a Will during probate requires witnesses to testify about:
- whether the testator’s signature is genuine;
- whether the testator was of sound mind; and
- whether the testator signed the Will voluntarily and not under duress.
A self-proving affidavit verifies that the Will is authentic without the need for testimony during a probate proceeding. This can be can save time and expense, especially in situations when witnesses die, become incompetent, or move away.
Where Can I Find a Self-Proving Affidavit?
Not every state gives testators the option to add self-proving affidavits to their Wills. The District of Columbia and Ohio do not, as I recently found out while reviewing the Will of a client who had recently moved from Ohio.
There are also a handful of other states in which simply observing the proper formalities when you and your witnesses signed the Will will result in the Will being self-proved. There is no need to add a separate affidavit.
The states that require self-proving affidavits to prove up a Will have statutes that dictate the language the affidavit should include. For example, in Texas, the statute that outlines the requirements of a self-proving affidavit is Section 251.104 of the Texas Estates Code. In North Carolina, the statute is Chapter 31, Article 4A of the North Carolina General Statutes.
If your state gives you the option to add a self-proving affidavit to your Will, do it.
This article was originally published on April 26, 2010, and updated on July 30, 2021.
June 14, 2014 at 5:46pm
Since a holographic will has no witnesses, can (or is it necessary) a self-proving affidavit still be utilized?
June 24, 2014 at 3:28pm
Yes. A self-proving affidavit can be utilized for a holographic Will.
August 11, 2018 at 5:42am
Does the self-proving affidavit require notorization?
August 13, 2018 at 1:10pm
December 24, 2018 at 5:09am
Ms. Combs, in the case of the holographic will (which does not require two witnesses or notarization) does the self-proving affidavit (which you say requires notarization) require two witnesses? Thank you.
January 1, 2019 at 10:34pm
The following article may answer your question: Can I Add a Self-Proving Affidavit to a Holographic Will?.
July 17, 2014 at 1:43pm
Can a person type up their own will and sign it before two witnesses and a notary public, or does it have to be hand written?
June 17, 2017 at 8:45am
A Will that is not wholly in a testator’s handwriting should be in writing, signed by the testator, or another person at the testator’s direction and in the testator’s presence, and attested in the testator’s presence by at least two credible witnesses over the age of 14.
July 29, 2014 at 3:24pm
In Texas, does a typed last will and testament still need 2 witness signitures if the document has been notarized without the 2 witness signatures?
July 29, 2014 at 4:14pm
Yes. To be valid, a typewritten Will must be signed by the testator, or another person at his direction and in his presence, and attested in his presence by at least two credible witnesses over the age of 14. Just being notarized is insufficient. For more information read: The Requirements of a Valid Will in Texas.
February 5, 2015 at 7:10am
Thank you in advance. Is it legal for my husband and I to have one combined will thereby leaving to each, all assets?
June 17, 2017 at 8:42am
You should each have your own Will.
August 10, 2015 at 10:47am
Does a will written by an attorney in Connecticut have validity in the state of Texas?
August 18, 2015 at 12:57pm
The following article may answer your question: Is the Will I Signed in Another State Valid in Texas?
December 12, 2015 at 11:57am
If I leave everything to my husband do I need a executor as well?
December 14, 2015 at 12:20pm
An Executor is a person who will be appointed to:
Your husband can be both the executor and beneficiary.
February 24, 2016 at 1:06pm
The witnesses have to see the person sign, right? They do not have to read the will or verify that the document being signed is indeed a will and testament, right?
February 26, 2016 at 5:15pm
The witnesses have to attest that they heard the testator say the document was his Last Will and Testament and that the testator signed the Will and wanted each of them to sign as witnesses. The witnesses do not have to read the Will.
July 7, 2016 at 7:27pm
If two witnesses sign a will, must it be notarized?
July 9, 2016 at 12:14pm
A Will in Texas does not need to be notarized in order to be valid; however, adding a self-proving affidavit, which must be notarized, to a Will eliminates the need for witnesses to appear in a probate proceeding to testify about the validity of a Will, which saves time and expense.
June 2, 2017 at 8:17am
Can somone who has witnessed a will signing (along with another person) also be the person who notarized the signature of the testator?
June 17, 2017 at 8:39am
The following article may answer your question: Is A Will Signed By One Witness Valid If It is Also Signed By A Notary?
July 17, 2017 at 12:40pm
Where can I get a form for a self-proving affidavit to accompany a will being made in Texas?
July 17, 2017 at 1:27pm
The Requirements for Self-Proving Affidavits can be found in Section 251.104 of the Texas Estates Code.
January 12, 2018 at 10:00pm
Is it necessary for the two witnesses to be present at the time the self proving affidavit is notarized by the authorized Notary?
January 15, 2018 at 2:32pm
May 11, 2018 at 6:13pm
Am trying to avoid probate. I have a legal will and TODD. Is it still necessary to have the aforementioned affadidavit ?
May 29, 2018 at 5:19pm
Lawyers include a self-proving affidavit because it eliminates the need for witnesses to appear in a probate proceeding to testify about the validity of a Will, which saves time and expense.
July 28, 2018 at 7:14pm
My mother & father in law have 15 acre land that we both live on. She wants to leave her half or share of the land to my husband and me, and my father in law can leave do what he wants with his half. They have 4 kids(adults) including my husband. I was going to have her write out whatever she wants done and then do a self-proving affidavit but can my husband and I be witness to sign it? or does she need two outside the family?
July 29, 2018 at 11:15am
Wills and self-proving affidavits that accompany them should be witnessed to two disinterested witnesses. Please encourage your mother-in-law to consult with a lawyer to ensure her wishes are reflected.
June 29, 2020 at 10:48pm
My husband and I are making plans in case we do not survive the pandemic. Can the executor be our oldest daughter, age 15? I have no siblings and my parents are disabled. At best, we have our child’s godparents.
July 3, 2020 at 2:09pm
A minor child will be unable to serve as executor. Please stay safe and take good care of yourselves during this scary time.