Dying Without Notarization: The Key To Having Valid Witnesses For Your Will

Law Blog

Most of the time, a legal will completed by an individual before their death will help to divide property, money, and assets to friends and family members. In order to prove that the will is actually a product of the wishes of the deceased and not a fabricated document, an official notary will have needed to sign an affidavit before the death in the presence of the person making the will and at least two witnesses. While this is certainly the easiest and fastest way to divide someone's assets, it doesn't mean that it's impossible to go another route. If you think that your loved one may not get the chance to see a notary to sign their will before death, consider a few of the following options:

Uninterested Parties

The most important thing you'll need to make any will valid is two witnesses to sign it (alongside the will writer), including their full addresses in case the court needs to contact them later. These two individuals can be anyone of the will writer's choosing, but they must be "uninterested parties" to the entire process. In other words, the two witnesses must not be listed among those who will benefit from the will in any way-- proving that they were not instrumental in swaying the will writer in any way. Additionally, these two "uninterested parties" must be competent people, meaning that they cannot be mentally unstable or unable to make decisions for themselves. By setting up these parameters, the court can make sure that no one forced or tricked the will writer into signing his or her property away.

Trustworthy Parties

While it's certainly not a legal requirement that the two witnesses be trustworthy, making sure to choose two reliable individuals is one of the most important things that the will writer could possibly do. If you're not able to go the route of getting a notary to sign the document, the judge will likely want to follow up with the two witnesses who signed the will-- but if they're suddenly nowhere to be found or don't show up in court when they're supposed to, it's likely that the will won't be taken seriously as a valid document. Knowing beyond a shadow of a doubt that the two witnesses are competent and trustworthy is the key to less stress, anxiety, and issues later when it is time to execute the will.

Talk with someone from a firm like Martin and Martin Lawyers if you have specific questions about making sure a will is a legally binding document.


7 August 2015