Do You Have to Notarize Your Will?
In most states, to create a valid Will, you must sign your Will in front of two witnesses. Your witnesses must also sign your document in your presence. Typically, your witnesses should be impartial and have no monetary motivation for witnessing your Will. In many states, your local probate court will require the testimony of one or both of your witnesses when someone tries to probate your Will or admit it for filing. The testimony of your witnesses serves to authenticate your Will. Your witnesses may have to provide testimony or affidavits confirming that you signed your will without pressure and without any evidence of mental incapacity. Because of the testimony required by witnesses who may often have passed away before the Will drafter or moved to another state, many states passed self-proving affidavit statutes. You should speak with your estate planning attorney to help you understand if your state allows you to submit a self-proving affidavit and the benefits of creating one. A self-proving affidavit is typically a statutory clause in your Will, or separate document appended to your Will, that a notary signs stating that you and your witnesses complied with your state’s statutory Will formalities. If your state allows you to use a notarized, self-proving affidavit, it may make the process of admitting your Will to probate easier, since your witnesses may not have to testify under oath that you signed your will without duress, fraud, or mental incapacity.
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