Legal Question in Wills and Trusts in Alabama

My father's self proving will is going to be entered in to probate in Baldwin Co. AL. I am listed as one of five beneficiaries. The main beneficiary is not family. Do I have the legal right to subpoena the witnesses to the will at the probate hearing to ask them if they complied with procedure? This would in no way be an attempt to contest the will. Will contest is not the purpose of my question. Thank you.

Asked on 4/06/15, 5:30 pm

1 Answer from Attorneys

Dean Stein Harville-Stein Law Offices, LLC

In general, a Will in which the sufficiency of the execution has been shown, is due to be admitted to Probate. I think a question exists, if the Will is "Self Proving" , that is, a Notary Public has signed the Will stating the document was signed by the Testator in the presence of the witnesses and the Notary, what would the witnesses testify to, that might show the insufficiency of the execution, that would then prevent its admission to Probate? Possible failures of execution might be a type of fraud, such as they were not present when the document was signed, that their signature is a forgery, that it was added after all others signed at a different time, or that the witness had not obtained the age of 19 at the time of their serving as a witness. If some such situation exists, then yes, the Court should permit you to call and examine the witness, but you may have to "proffer" to the Court in advance, what testimony they are going to give, relevant to the admission question. Now, hire an attorney.

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Answered on 4/06/15, 6:42 pm

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