One of the first steps to take after a loved one dies is to find out if they had a will. If there was a will, the second step is to make sure the will is valid. There are a few requirements for a valid will in Pennsylvania. First, the will must be signed by the deceased party or decedent. Ideally, there will also be signatures of two witnesses. A self-proved will includes an additional affidavit signed by the decedent and the witnesses that the signatures on the preceding will were valid and that the decedent signed the will knowingly and voluntarily. This affidavit can be signed simultaneously with the will or at a subsequent date so long as the testator and witnesses are available to sign. Sample language for an acknowledgment and affidavit is below.
We, the Testator and the witnesses respectively, whose names are signed to the attached or foregoing instrument, being first duly sworn, do hereby declare to the undersigned authority that the Testator signed and executed said instrument as their last will and testament in the presence and hearing of the witnesses, and that they had signed willingly, and that they executed it as their free and voluntary act and deed for the purposes therein expressed, and that each of the witnesses at the request of the Testator, in the presence and hearing of the Testator and each other, signed the will as witness, and that to the best of his or her knowledge the Testator was at the time at least eighteen years of age, of sound mind and under no constraint, duress, fraud or undue influence. Click here to read more about wills.