Is a Will legal, if it wasn’t done by an attorney or notarized?

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Is a Will legal, if it wasn’t done by an attorney or notarized?

My mother dictated her final wishes to me, signed and dated the Will. No attorney or notary was involved. My brother owns the house but not her contents, which she willed to individuals of us. How would I proceed to claim my items she wanted me to have?

Asked on March 26, 2018 under Estate Planning, Tennessee

Answers:

S.L,. Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

A Will does not need to be notarized or prepared by an attorney.  However, your mother's Will is not valid because it does not comply with the requirement that your mother must sign the Will in the presence of  two disinterested witnesses who also sign.  The exception to this is if the Will is signed, dated and is entirely in the handwriting of your mother, then no witnesses are needed and this is a holographic will.  There should be a valid Will before any items can be claimed.


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