Notarizing a will: When and how

On Behalf of | Feb 14, 2022 | Estate Planning |

A valid will does not need to be notarized in California. As long as the document is signed, it can easily be validated in probate court. Although estate rules are fairly lenient in California, the rules are stricter in other states.

Requirements in California

A notarized signature is not required for a will to be legal. Instead, there are other requirements based on the type of will. A typewritten will needs at least two witnesses present at the signing to verify the authenticity of the testator’s signature.

When one needs to be notarized

When wills are being proved in probate court, the witnesses have to verify the authenticity of the signatures. However, the reliability of witnesses is often questioned. If the will was signed and witnessed many years ago, it may be difficult or impossible to locate the witnesses if their whereabouts are unknown. As a result, some states need the document to be notarized.

Some states require only the witnesses’ signatures to be notarized while other states require an additional notarization for the testator’s signature. Many states allow self-proving wills that can be proved at the time of the signing instead of having to go through probate. During the signing, the testator and the witnesses swear an oath before a notary public.

When a notary is needed

The requirement to notarize a will depends on the state’s laws. In some states, a self-proving will is recommended, and in others, a signature in front of two witnesses is necessary. The testator has to create the most efficient type of will and then check the specific probate laws about how to authorize the will.