Can a Person Write Their Own Will & Then Have It Notarized?

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In this age of technology, writing out a will by hand may not be the norm, but it is a perfectly acceptable alternative to typed or printed wills. The key to making an effective handwritten will is knowing your state laws regarding whether witnesses are required and, if so, how many.

Holographic Wills

Not every jurisdiction requires that every will be witnessed. Some states, like California, authorize unwitnessed holographic wills if they are written entirely in the handwriting of the will maker, who is known as the testator. Notarizing a holographic will is not required, but it also doesn't invalidate the will.

Read More: States Where Holographic Wills Are Legal

Witnessed Wills

If your state does not accept holographic wills, you can still write out your will by hand if you get witnesses to sign after you. Witness requirements vary among jurisdictions. Most states accept a will -- handwritten, typed or printed -- with two or three witness signatures. Notary signatures on witnessed wills are generally not required, but do not invalidate the will.

 

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About the Author

Teo Spengler earned a J.D. from U.C. Berkeley's Boalt Hall. As an Assistant Attorney General in Juneau, she practiced before the Alaska Supreme Court and the U.S. Supreme Court before opening a plaintiff's personal injury practice in San Francisco. She holds both an M.A. and an M.F.A in creative writing and enjoys writing legal blogs and articles. Her work has appeared in numerous online publications including USA Today, Legal Zoom, eHow Business, Livestrong, SF Gate, Go Banking Rates, Arizona Central, Houston Chronicle, Navy Federal Credit Union, Pearson, Quicken.com, TurboTax.com, and numerous attorney websites. Spengler splits her time between the French Basque Country and Northern California.

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