Do I need a lawyer and/or notary to witness the signing of my Will?

Get Legal Help Today

 Secured with SHA-256 Encryption

Do I need a lawyer and/or notary to witness the signing of my Will?

If I write my Will myself and have 2 witnesses sign it, is it valid in CA? It’s a simple Will. One property; no spouse.

Asked on July 11, 2011 under Estate Planning, California

Answers:

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

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

Under CA law, a person can make a Will in one of 3 ways. A formal Will drated by an attorney, a pre-printed form Will (i.e. "fill in the blanks" Will) , and a handwritten Will (i.e. "holographic Will"). With repect to the later, a halographic Will is valid if all of the material provisions of the Will are handwritten by the testator (i.e. the person making the Will), and the Will is dated and signed by the testator. A handwritten Will does not have to be notarized or witnessed, but having it signed by witnesses is a good idea. 

It is not necessary to hire an attorney to create a Will. Making a Will to disperse a small estate is relatively easy (either through a holographic or on-line form). However, a lawyer's guidance is very helpful to deal when complicated property holdings or an estate with many assets (especially if they are located in several different places). Additionally, a probate attorney can make sure that the transfer of property is done in a way that minimizes the survivors' tax liability. Furthermore a complicated estate may require documents other than a Will (e.g. a trust agreement) to ensure that all of a person's wishes are carried out as they would want after their death. 


IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although AttorneyPages.com has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

Get Legal Help Today

Find the right lawyer for your legal issue.

 Secured with SHA-256 Encryption