Must a Will ne notarized if it has been witnessed?

My mother left a Will stating that she wanted her home divided among her children. She passed away before it was notorized. It was, however, witnessed by 2 people who were not related. Is this will considered legal, even though it is not notarized?

Asked on September 7, 2015 under Estate Planning, California


M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

A Will needs to be witnessed it does not however need to be notarized. So as long as your mother's Will was validly executed, is is legal.
There is something known as a "self-proving Will" or a self-proving affidavit attached to a Will which certifies that the witnesses and testator properly signed the Will. This means that the court can accept the document as the true Will of the deceased, thus avoiding the delay and cost of locating witnesses at the time of probate. Such Wills are generally recognized in most states, yet in some of the states accepting these Wills, they must be notarized. However that is not the case in CA there Wills are considered &ldquoself-proved&rdquo once they are properly executed by the testator and witnesses. If no one contests the Will's validity, the probate court will accept it without the need to hear the testimony of witnesses or other evidence.

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