You may have heard that notarizing your will is a necessity. However, how true is this? Even though the wills that lawyers draw up are mostly notarized, there’s no requirement for this. The will itself does not need to be notarized; rather, it’s the “self-proving affidavit” that requires notarization.
After a person dies, his will is given for probate. This means that the validity of the will must be verified.
The Process of Proving a Will
To prove that the will is legitimate, a witness needs to testify in front of the state government official and swear that they were present when the will was being signed. This could include the Register of Wills or someone from the Probate Court or the Surrogate’s Court. In cases where the will was signed years ago, it may become difficult to find the witness. In some cases, it is impossible.
The witness could have moved to another country, died, or may simply not be able to testify. If other people and the heirs are present, the will in question will be accepted, but it will not be proved. If no witnesses are available, the will can be proved by two people who can recognize the signature of the decedent, even if they were not physically present while the will was being made.
There is no denying that searching for witnesses and convincing them to visit the Register of Will’s office can be complicated. However, this is important because the parties will need to testify that the deceased’s signature is authentic.
Can You Self-Prove a Will?
In most states, you can now self-prove a will. However, one will that has been self-proved may not be accepted in another state, depending on its individual requirements for self-proving a will.
A will can be self-proved when it is being signed. When the will is being formed and signed, the person writing the will, along with the witnesses, will take an oath in front of a notary public. Through this process, the will does not need to be proved after the person dies. It is simply filed as a self-proving affidavit and submitted to the Register of Wills.
In case a notary is not available but an attorney is, the attorney takes over this responsibility. However, the affidavit needs to clearly state that the attorney was present at the time of the oath and was played the role of a notary.
Even though it is not necessary for the will to be self-proving, most wills these days are. This is because finding a notary can be difficult. However, we would recommend that you get in touch with a reputable notary company that can assist you on the spot when you are notarizing your will. This way, your relatives and beneficiaries are not going to be bothered in the future, and you will not have to pay extra to find them.