A self-proving affidavit is a document that you can create that accompanies your will. When you create a will in North Dakota or Minnesota you have to create a written document that states your wishes about how you want your property to be distributed after you die. You must sign this document in the presence of two adult witnesses, and then have those witnesses sign it as well.
After you die, a probate court will have to look at the will and make sure it meets all state legal requirements. Part of this process includes having the witnesses testify that they saw you sign your will. This can often be very difficult, especially if the witnesses have moved or died since they signed the document.
To avoid such difficulties you can have the witnesses sign affidavits at the time they signed the will. The affidavit is a sworn document that the court will accept as testimony when determining if the will is valid.
You are never obligated to create a last will and testament, nor are your witnesses obligated to sign a self-proving affidavit. However, creating this document makes it much easier for the personal representative to handle the probate process. It also makes it easier on the witnesses.
The easiest way to create a will and a self-proving affidavit is to assemble the witnesses in one place and have them witness you sign the will. They can then sign the self-proving affidavit in front of a licensed notary who will identify them and notarize the affidavit.