Is a Self Made Will Legal if Notarized?

By A.L. Kennedy

A self-made will is legal if it meets your state's requirements for wills. All states have requirements that include having at least two witnesses and signing your will yourself. Some states allow you to notarize your will to make it "self-proving," which moves it through probate faster. However, as of December 2010, only Louisiana requires a will to be notarized.

A self-made will is legal if it meets your state's requirements for wills. All states have requirements that include having at least two witnesses and signing your will yourself. Some states allow you to notarize your will to make it "self-proving," which moves it through probate faster. However, as of December 2010, only Louisiana requires a will to be notarized.

Requirements

In order to write a valid self-made will, most states require the testator, or person making the will, to be a legal adult aged 18 or older with the mental capacity to grasp what a will is for and what his own will may do to his property after he dies, according to FindLaw. You must also make your self-made will in writing in most states. You can write your will out by hand, type it or use a preprinted will form in most states.

Protect your loved ones by a legally binding will. Make a Will Online Now

Witnesses

A self-made will must meet your state's requirement for witnesses, just like any other will, according to the American Bar Association. Forty-eight states require two witnesses to watch you sign your will. These witnesses then sign your will as well. Witnesses in all states must be legal adults with the ability to understand what they are witnessing. Vermont requires three witnesses, and Louisiana requires only one witness.

Notarization

Only Louisiana requires you to have a notary sign your will, according to MedLaw Plus. This rule includes self-made wills. Many other U.S. states allow you to use notarization to make a self-proving will. A self-proving will usually goes through probate faster because the probate court does not have to call in your witnesses and ask them whether they actually signed your will. However, these states do not require a valid will to be notarized, and do not accept a self-made will that is notarized unless it is also witnessed according to that state's laws.

Holographic Wills

Some states allow you to avoid needing two or more witnesses by making a holographic or olographic will, one that is written in your own handwriting. In most states, only your name, signature, the date and "material portions" need to be in your own handwriting. These wills do not have to be witnessed or notarized to be legal, but witnesses and notarization may move them through the probate court more quickly because the court will not have to validate your handwriting, according to FindLaw.

Protect your loved ones by a legally binding will. Make a Will Online Now
Is it Legal to Handwrite a Will in Minnesota if You Get it Notarized?

References

Resources

Related articles

Handwritten Last Will & Testaments

Each state has its own laws on what constitutes a valid last will and testament. In most states, a will must be in writing, but whether it is typed or handwritten generally doesn't matter if the will meets all the other requirements for validity in the state. About half of states, however, recognize a special type of handwritten will.

Can a Notarized Will Be Accepted as a Legal Document in North Carolina?

A will is a valid legal document in any state, provided that it meets the laws and qualifications of that jurisdiction. In North Carolina, requirements for legal wills appear in Chapter 31 of the state’s General Statutes. Your will does not have to be notarized for it to be a valid, legal document. Even if it is notarized, it may not be valid and legal unless it meets the state’s other requirements.

Pennsylvania's Statute of Wills

Pennsylvania's statute governing wills is called the Probate Code. Like all states, Pennsylvania has its own laws that cover what makes a will valid and how the instructions in a will should be carried out after the person who has made it dies. Although you do not need an attorney to make a valid will in Pennsylvania, the Pennsylvania Bar Association recommends consulting a lawyer to be sure your will is valid under Pennsylvania law.

LegalZoom. Legal help is here. Start Here. Wills. Trusts. Attorney help.

Related articles

Is a Handwritten Will Legal?

A handwritten or "holographic" will is a will written entirely in the handwriting of the testator, or the ...

Does a LegalZoom Will Have to Be Notarized?

LegalZoom provides a number of law-related resources, including wills based on information you provide. Like any will, ...

Is a Notarized Will Legal in Massachusetts?

Massachusetts law has specific requirements for what makes a will legal in the state. These requirements include who ...

Are Notarized Wills Legal?

In all 50 U.S. states, at least two witnesses are required to make a will valid, according to MedLawPlus. However, only ...

Browse by category