Do Wills Have to Be Notarized in Pennsylvania?

By Catherine McNally

Pennsylvania law does not require the notarization of wills at the time of signing. If a will is not notarized, however, two witnesses must authenticate the will maker’s -- officially known as the "testator" -- signature at the time of probate.

Pennsylvania law does not require the notarization of wills at the time of signing. If a will is not notarized, however, two witnesses must authenticate the will maker’s -- officially known as the "testator" -- signature at the time of probate.

Notarization of Documents

The presence of a notary public provides several safeguards when parties sign important documents. For example, the notary verifies the parties' identities, and also acts as a witness to ensure that a document is properly signed and entered into willingly. The notary then places his official signature and seal on the document.

Protect your loved ones. Start My Estate Plan

Pennsylvania Rules

Pennsylvania does not require the notarization of wills at the time of signing. If a will does include a notarized affidavit signed by the testator and two witnesses at the time of execution, it is considered a "self-proven" will. If a will is not notarized, however, the witnesses must declare that the testator's signature is valid at the start of the probate process.

Probate Requirement

Probate is the process where a court determines a will's validity and distributes assets. Pennsylvania law requires that all wills must be probated before the county register of the county where the testator last resided. The testator's signature must be authenticated at the beginning of the probate process.

Authentication of Signature at Probate

At probate, two competent witnesses must declare, by affirmation or oath, the authenticity of the will maker’s signature or mark. The affirmation must be notarized if a witness is not present at probate and instead provides a written affirmation.

Protect your loved ones. Start My Estate Plan
What Constitutes a Legal Will in Pennsylvania?

References

Related articles

Self-Proving Will Statutes in New York

Is Counseling Required to Divorce in Georgia?

Waiting Period for a Divorce in Minnesota

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

Related articles

Notarizing a Will in Texas

Rules for Witnessing a Will

Does a Power of Attorney Require Notarization?

Number of Witnesses Required for Signing a Will in Alabama

Browse by category
Ready to Begin? GET STARTED