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FAQ / Can I notarize a will?

The Notary should not proceed in notarizing a will unless clear instructions and notarial wording are provided, ideally by an attorney.

Wills are such sensitive and important documents that there are certain dangers for Notaries involved with them. Some holographic (handwritten) wills may be invalidated by notarization. And Notaries who make the mistake of helping prepare a will may be sued by would-be or dissatisfied heirs.

Often, misguided individuals will prepare their own wills and bring them to Notaries to have them "legalized." They will depend on the Notaries to know what kind of notarial act is appropriate. Of course, Notaries have no authority to offer such advice. And, whether notarized or not, these supposed "wills" may be worthless.

In many states, notarization of a will is rarely done and is unnecessary if other witnessing procedures are used. In other states, wills don't need to be notarized at all. Often, it is not the signature of the testator or testatrix (maker of the will) that must be notarized, but the signatures of witnesses on affidavits appended to the will.

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