Having your will finalized isn’t as simple as movies make it look like. If you don’t follow the extensive formalities, your will might be deemed invalid. To make sure that a situation like this doesn’t arise, it is important that you understand the entire process of will signing and also the role that a notary public plays in it.
1. Proofread the Will
Before a lawyer can have your will drafted, they conduct a detailed meeting with you. Once the draft of will is in your hands, you must proofread the document to its entirety. You should make sure that everything you want in your will is present in the document without any additions or subtractions. In case you want to make changes, point them out, and have a new copy printed.
2. Arrange Witnesses
The will signing ceremony requires two witnesses that can bear witness that you signed the will in front of them. You can either bring your witness or let the attorney arrange them for you. In case you’re planning to bring your own witnesses, make sure they aren’t anyone who is a part of your will’s inheritance, they know you personally and will testify on your behalf if the need arises.
3. Arrange A Notary Public
Your will doesn’t have to be notarized, but you will need a ‘self-proofing affidavit.’ This affidavit has to be notarized by a registered notary public. Without a notarized self-proofing affidavit, your will won’t be considered valid.
4. Gather Everyone At the Time of Will Signing
You should have everyone involved in the process present on-site at the time of will signing; your attorney, witnesses, and the notary public.
5. Initials, Sign, and Date of Signing
Every page of the will should have your initials, except the last page. The last page of the document needs to have a complete signature. Along with your sign, it is important to include the date on which you signed the will and city where the will signing ceremony took place. Make sure that all of this is done in blue ink.
6. Get Your Witnesses To Sign
Every page of your will should have your witnesses’ initials just like yours, followed by a full signature on the last page. Your witnesses will state that they saw your sign the will and that you signed the document on your free will.
7. Sign the Self-Proofing Affidavit
The self-proofing affidavit needs to be signed by your witnesses before you can sign it. The notary public will put the witnesses under oath, declaring that they understand the contents and the purpose of the document. After you and your witnesses have signed the affidavit, the notary public signs it and put an official notarial stamp. The notary public makes a note of the event in their record book.
8. Store the Will Safely
Once all the formalities of will signing have been completed, store the will in a safe place. Most importantly, the executor of your will should know where you’ve kept it.
Will signing procedure comprises of many formalities that need to be fulfilled to make your will valid. The process can’t be complete without a notary public on board. Make sure that you hire only a reliable and well-reputed notary public for one of the most important legal proceedings of your life.