LegalZoom provides a number of law-related resources, including wills based on information you provide. Like any will, a will from LegalZoom must meet your state's requirements for valid wills in order to be considered legal in your state. A LegalZoom will may or may not have to be notarized. You may also wish to consider having it notarized to make probate move more quickly, if your state allows.
Will in Writing
In all U.S. states, wills must be in writing in nearly all circumstances. They must also be signed by the testator, or person to whom the will belongs. LegalZoom wills are written documents, but in order for your LegalZoom will to be valid in any state, you must sign it in the appropriate spaces once it arrives. If you are unable to sign your will, you may be able to direct someone to sign it on your behalf in your presence. An attorney who practices estate law in your state can tell you what specific rules apply for those who cannot sign their own wills.
All 50 U.S. states require wills that are typed or word-processed to be signed by at least two witnesses, according to the American Bar Association. Since the will you receive from LegalZoom is word-processed, it is not valid until you have had at least two witnesses sign it. Vermont law requires three witnesses. You should have your witnesses watch you sign your will and then sign your will in your presence. Both you and your witnesses should also put the date you signed the will beside your signature.
Only one state, Louisiana, requires a will to be notarized in order for it to be valid. If you receive your LegalZoom will and you live in Louisiana, you should have your will notarized in addition to having it witnessed. No other U.S. state requires a will to be notarized. Nor will any other U.S. state accept notarization instead of the signature of two or more witnesses on your will. However, a person who is a notary may also serve as a witness in most states.
Although no state except Louisiana requires notarized wills and no state will accept notarization in place of witnesses, some states allow notarized wills to move more quickly through probate. These wills are known as "self-proving" wills. They usually include a separate signed statement from you and your witnesses that swears under oath that your signatures are genuine and that, in the case of your witnesses, that they know who you are and watched you sign your will. An attorney who practices estate law in your state can tell you if you may use a self-proving will.
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