Can a Person Write Their Own Will & Then Have It Notarized?

by Teo Spengler
Some states accept handwritten wills without witness signatures.

Some states accept handwritten wills without witness signatures.

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In this age of technology, writing out a will by hand may not be the norm, but it is a perfectly acceptable alternative to typed or printed wills. The key to making an effective handwritten will is knowing your state laws regarding whether witnesses are required and, if so, how many.

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Holographic Wills

Not every jurisdiction requires that every will be witnessed. Some states, like California, authorize unwitnessed holographic wills if they are written entirely in the handwriting of the will maker, who is known as the testator. Notarizing a holographic will is not required, but it also doesn't invalidate the will.

Witnessed Wills

If your state does not accept holographic wills, you can still write out your will by hand if you get witnesses to sign after you. Witness requirements vary among jurisdictions. Most states accept a will -- handwritten, typed or printed -- with two or three witness signatures. Notary signatures on witnessed wills are generally not required, but do not invalidate the will.