Can a notary be related to both a testator and a beneficiary as long as they do not directly benefit from a Will or must they be people totally unrelated?

My husband’s uncle has never been married and has no children. He plans to leave everything to my husband. I know that there needs to be 2 witnesses to sign his Will.

Asked on September 11, 2014 under Estate Planning, New York

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

The notary *could* be related to the testator and/or beneficiaries--there is no explicit legal bar or restriction--but doing so could potentially make the will more vulnerable to a challenge if someone later tries to claim that there was some irregularity (such as that one of the people claimed to have signed did  not actually sign and a different person signed for them); anytime there is a relationship like this, it raises at least the possibility that someone wiill later claim that due to the relationship, something untoward happened. It would be better to get an unrelated notary.


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