Do You Need to Notarize Your Will?

When it comes to many legal documents, a notary signature is absolutely necessary in order to make a document valid and applicable. This is not the same with a will. In fact, wills don't need to be notarized to be effective. In most states, a will just needs to be typed or handwritten and include the signature of the testator and the date that the will was signed. As well, at least two witnesses need to sign the will and date their signatures. One of those witnesses can be a notary, but it is not required and will not result in any benefit for the testator.

It is important to pick the right witness to help with the will. Most of the time, witnesses should not receive any benefit from the will, and must sign in the presence of the testator. They must be at least 18 years old and attest that he will was freely and voluntarily signed by a testator that was of sound mind. In some states, creating a notarized affidavit to attach with the will can save beneficiaries time in the probate process. You will want to talk with a local probate lawyer about this possibility.

Ideal witnesses to sign your will would be an attorney, a friend, or another legal assistant that has helped you with the will process. Some estate planning documents, such as living trusts, do in fact require a notary public. You will want to carefully investigate the nature of the document that you want to create and talk with a lawyer to determine whether or not a notary is necessary.

If you want your witnesses to sign their own "self-proving affidavits" then these will require a notary. Self-proving affidavits are sworn statements by the witnesses that the will that you signed is valid. This can be very helpful during the probate process, especially if beneficiaries wish to contest the will. If you want more information about wills and what documents require a notary, locate a probate attorney near you.