Question 1: Do I need to have my Will notarized?
No. There is no state requirement that says you must have your will signed before a licensed public notary. The law requires that for your Will to be legal, you must create a document that contains your wishes, sign it, and have it signed by two capable adult witnesses. Having your Will notarized is not a valid substitute for any of these requirements, meaning that even if you do have it notarized that doesn’t make it a legal Will.
Question 2: What about a self-proving Will?
A self-proving Will is one that is accompanied by a sworn affidavit signed and notarized by two witnesses. An affidavit is a sworn statement the witnesses make that says they are who they say they are and they witnessed the testator signing the will. These affidavits must be sworn before notary and signed in the notary’s presence. The notary must then affix the notary seal to the affidavits. However, the affidavit itself is not a Will, nor does the will have to be signed in front of the notary.
Question 3: Why should I use a self-proving Will?
In order to prove a Will is valid, a court must be convinced that the witnesses saw the testator sign the document. It can do this by having the witnesses testify in court. Also, the affidavits can serve as a substitute for witness testimony, meaning they will not have to appear in court. This makes the probate process a little easier.
The Law Office of Michael Robinson, P.C. is a member of the American Academy of Estate Planning Attorneys.