Is a non-notarized Will still classed as legal?

UPDATED: Jul 19, 2010

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Is a non-notarized Will still classed as legal?

My father has named me as executor of his estate upon his death. I am also a beneficiary. I know the will he’s completed is signed but not notarized. If he were to die, before having the will notarized, would it be classed as legal? 

Asked on July 19, 2010 under Estate Planning, Michigan


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

Answered 12 years ago | Contributor

A Will need not be notarized.  It must however, be witnessed.  The number of witnesses to a Will varies among jurisdictions; sometimes it's 2 and sometimes it's 3.  Just be sure to comply with state requirements as to this.

However, it someone has what is known as a "self-proving affidavit", that must be notarized.  This affidavit does away with the need to locate the witnesses when the Will is entered into probate.  It's a good idea to have one; it will make things easier and save on expenses if the witnesses do in fact have to be tracked down.

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 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.

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