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 Does Vermont require three witnesses to every will?

 

- Kurt R. Nilson, Johnstown, Pennsylvania 

Many internet sources continue to indicate that Vermont law requires three people to witness every will.

The text of Title 14, Chapter 1, Section 5 of the Vermont Statutes reads as follows:

 

§ 5. Execution of will; requisites
Except such nuncupative wills as are hereinafter mentioned, a will shall not pass any real or personal estate, or charge or affect the same, unless it is in writing and signed by the testator, or by the testator's name written by some other person in the testator's presence and by the testator's express direction, and attested and subscribed by two or more credible witnesses in the presence of the testator and of each other. (Amended 2005, No. 106 (Adj. Sess.), § 1.)

Vermont's statute required three witnesses before its amendment to the present form shown above.  However, as shown, the act amending this statute to just two witnesses is from 2005.

In fact, although every state (EXCEPT ONE) requires wills to be witnessed, none of them require more than two witnesses.

The incorrect belief that Vermont wills require three witnesses persists because of numerous, apparently reputable, websites with outdated information.  With many of these sites being operated by large companies that spend a great deal on advertising, this incorrect information is readily accepted when it is found listed at one of these sites.

 




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