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Dwayne B.
Dwayne B., Attorney
Category: Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 33554
Experience:  Estate Law Expert
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my husband signed that he witnessed a will, when he wasnt

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my husband signed that he witnessed a will, when he wasn't actually there. He did it a favor for his friend, whose grandmother was amending her will. Now the will is being challenged and lawyers want my husband to sign a declaration that he was a witness. What kind of trouble can he get it for signing as a witness?

JD 1992 :

Hello and thank you for contacting Just Answer. I am an expert here and I look forward to assisting you today. If at any point any of my answers aren’t clear please don’t hesitate to ask for clarification.

JD 1992 :

If he signed that he witnessed a will and he didn't then that is still perjury but much less likely to charged than if he lies about it on the witness stand.

JD 1992 :

If the grandmother told him she signed it then he can explain it that way but above all he doesn't want to lie on the witness stand.

JD 1992 :

He can also "take the 5th" if they call him to the stand but he would want to have a lawyer there with him and representing him if he decides to take that step.

JD 1992 :

The key is whether his signature was notarized and whether he told the notary that he witnessed the will being signed.

JD 1992 :

So the short answer is the "crime" is the same but he is much, much more likely to be prosecuted if he lies on the witness stand and is caught than if he had just signed saying that he witnessed it.

JD 1992 :

I'm sure you have additional questions so please ask them in this thread.

Customer:

Yes, the grandmother was lucid and fine that he wasn't there. She just wanted to get the will done. I don't know if the will was notorized. Would the notary have to be there to witness the signing as well? I know he didn't go to a notary and sign anything with them. So if the will wasn't notarized, does that mean it is not valid?

Customer:

He has been avoiding the lawyers calls for him to sign a declaration. What should he say to them when he calls them back?

JD 1992 :

The notary is supposed to be there and see the person signing the will as well as the witnesses watching them sign it. It is less likely to be valid if there is a question as to whether or not the witnesses saw her sign the will.

Customer:

He did sign an affidavit when the will was filed in court. What does that mean?

JD 1992 :

He can just explain that he isn't signing the declaration and he may even want to consider hiring a lawyer just to act as an intermediary. It will take him off the hook and if the lawyer tell them that he didn't see her sign it and isn't going to say he did if they call him to the stand then that will likely make it all go away.

JD 1992 :

It depends on what the affidavit said. If it said he was a witness to her signing it then he has already committed perjury and definitely wants to get a lawyer involved.

Customer:

Okay, thanks. We will contact a lawyer tomorrow to represent him. Thank you for your advice.

JD 1992 :

You're very welcome. You shouldn't worry too much because if he is trying to do the right thing now the court isn't likely to want to get after him too much.

Customer:

Phew. that's good to hear!

JD 1992 :

It's serious, but can get better quickly when you get the lawyer.

JD 1992 :

Please ask any follow up questions in this thread. When all of your questions have been answered, then I would ask that you give a Positive Rating (of course I'd suggest Excellent) since that is the only way I get credit for my work and also please consider clicking "BONUS" as a nice way of saying "thanks" for a job well done, although this is neither required nor expected.

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