Attestation Clause

Updated: 29 February 2024

What Does Attestation Clause Mean?

An attestation clause is a provision in a legal document that sets out the document’s formalities and legal requirements and states that those formalities and requirements have been met. In other words, the witnesses “attest” or verify that the document was executed properly and therefore should be enforceable under law. An attestation clause is normally located after the original signature.

Most commonly, attestation clauses are present in more “high stakes” or highly contested documents like wills or deeds. These types of documents are usually subject to heavy scrutiny, often after the original party (or parties) to the contract has passed away, making them unable to verify the document and their intents. By adding an attestation clause and properly executing it, it strengthens the legal document and reduces the likelihood that it would be found to be invalid.

By signing the attestation clause, the signatories are declaring and confirming that everything within the clause is true and the document’s legal requirements have been met. It also serves to verify the manner of execution.

An attestation clause is also known as a testimonium.

Insuranceopedia Explains Attestation Clause

An attestation clause is normally signed by one or more parties to the contract, along with one or more witnesses to the signing. It is an additional verification that the instrument (will, document or contract) has been completed in the manner the law requires in the presence of witnesses — who also sign the document — in a designated space.

The purpose of attestation is to further strengthen the presumption that all statutory requirements for executing the document have been met, and therefore, the document has legal force. Without a properly executed attestation (i.e., if witnesses have not signed it), there is a risk that the document is in an “unfinished” state and could be invalidated by some extrinsic circumstances.

Most legal documents do not require an attestation clause. It is most commonly found on legal documents that require witness signatures in order to be valid — most commonly, wills or deeds. A typical attestation clause has language that effectively says that the document was signed by the party (or parties) to the contract in the presence of witnesses (testators) and that the witnesses signed in the presence of each other.

An attestation clause may make a number of stipulations, including that the parties to the contract entered into it while they were of sound mind, did not sign it under any duress and were 18 years of age or older when they entered into the legally binding agreement.



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