The witness requirements for a witnessed Will can be confusing as there are several requirements needed to create a valid Will. The following rules also apply to Codicils.
Except for holographic Wills, every Will must be witnessed by at least two people. Indeed, some estate planning lawyers will arrange to have three witnesses during the signing of a Will. This may be especially helpful if a witness dies, becomes incapacitated, or cannot be located and there's a need to get the testimony of a witness who was living at the time the Will was signed.
Each of the witnesses must be present at the time the Testator signs his or her Will. Alternatively, the witnesses must be present while the Testator acknowledges that the signature on the Will is his. Although the witnesses don't have to sign the Will in front of the Testator or each other, it often does not make sense to do otherwise.
Understand Document as Testator's Will
The witnesses must also understand that the document the Testator is signing is his or her Will. Sometimes, a lawyer may request that the Testator acknowledge in front of the witnesses that the document they are about to sign is his or her Will, just to make it abundantly clear to all who are present.
Notarizing a Will has no legal effect by itself. A Will must be witnessed by at least two people.