Does a LegalZoom Will Have to Be Notarized?

By A.L. Kennedy

LegalZoom provides a number of law-related resources, including wills based on information you provide. Like any will, a will from LegalZoom must meet your state's requirements for valid wills in order to be considered legal in your state. A LegalZoom will may or may not have to be notarized. You may also wish to consider having it notarized to make probate move more quickly, if your state allows.

Will in Writing

In all U.S. states, wills must be in writing in nearly all circumstances. They must also be signed by the testator, or person to whom the will belongs. LegalZoom wills are written documents, but in order for your LegalZoom will to be valid in any state, you must sign it in the appropriate spaces once it arrives. If you are unable to sign your will, you may be able to direct someone to sign it on your behalf in your presence. An attorney who practices estate law in your state can tell you what specific rules apply for those who cannot sign their own wills.

Witness Requirement

All 50 U.S. states require wills that are typed or word-processed to be signed by at least two witnesses, according to the American Bar Association. Since the will you receive from LegalZoom is word-processed, it is not valid until you have had at least two witnesses sign it. Vermont law requires three witnesses. You should have your witnesses watch you sign your will and then sign your will in your presence. Both you and your witnesses should also put the date you signed the will beside your signature.

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Notarized Wills

Only one state, Louisiana, requires a will to be notarized in order for it to be valid. If you receive your LegalZoom will and you live in Louisiana, you should have your will notarized in addition to having it witnessed. No other U.S. state requires a will to be notarized. Nor will any other U.S. state accept notarization instead of the signature of two or more witnesses on your will. However, a person who is a notary may also serve as a witness in most states.

Self-Proving Wills

Although no state except Louisiana requires notarized wills and no state will accept notarization in place of witnesses, some states allow notarized wills to move more quickly through probate. These wills are known as "self-proving" wills. They usually include a separate signed statement from you and your witnesses that swears under oath that your signatures are genuine and that, in the case of your witnesses, that they know who you are and watched you sign your will. An attorney who practices estate law in your state can tell you if you may use a self-proving will.

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Is it Legal to Handwrite a Will in Minnesota if You Get it Notarized?
 

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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 Louisiana requires a will to be notarized in addition to being signed by two witnesses. Although a notary may sign a will as a witness in most other states, the fact of notarization is not enough to make a will valid, according to FindLaw.

How Can I Do My Own Will?

Less than half of American adults have wills. One reason for this low figure might be the common perception that wills are complicated and expensive to prepare. Although large and complex estates may require estate-planning services and legal advice, many people with smaller holdings use simple testaments. All jurisdictions accept self-drafted testaments that meet probate requirements. Some states -- such as California -- make it easy for people to draft their own wills by providing a valid form will in the statutes and allowing handwritten wills.

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.

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