You’ve written your will and signed your will in front of two witnesses. Do you need to notarize your will? And what is notarization anyway?
A notary is an official who can validate the authenticity of a signature. The presence of a notary public confirms the identity of the person and authenticity of any signature on a will. A notarized document will often include an official notarization stamp that indicates that a notary was present during the signing of the document. A notary will typically request the identification of any person signing a document.
In Florida, for a will to be valid, you do not need to have it notarized. But having your will notarized offers certain important benefits. If you have your will notarized when it is finalized and signed by two witnesses, you will have made your will “self proving.” A “self proving” will can more quickly move through probate because the judge won’t need to call up the two witnesses who signed the will to confirm that they were present when the will was signed. The presence of a notary stamp on your will is sufficient in this case.
A will is generally not considered valid unless two witnesses are present at the signing of the will who also sign that they witnessed the signing of the will. Why is it required that witnesses be present when a will is signed? Unlike other formal documents, the person who is signing and creating the will won’t be alive when the will needs to be used. The two witnesses who observe the signing of the will are present to confirm that the person signing the will is the actual person the will is about, and they are also present to confirm that the will wasn’t signed or created without “undue influence.” Sometimes people are pressured into changing their wills (especially when they are vulnerable or mentally incapacitated), and sometimes individuals who don’t have sound mental health are pressured into changing their wills or adding people to a will. The will’s witnesses can confirm that the person was of sound mind when he or she signed the will. Finally, the two witnesses should not be potential heirs or beneficiaries to the will.
If you are in the process of writing your will or have questions about how you can make your will “self proving” or properly validated, then consider reaching out to the estate planning lawyers in Palm Beach, Florida at Moran & Associates. Our estate planning attorneys can review your existing will, help you write a new will, or help you with the process of finalizing and formalizing your will. Contact Moran & Associates, a Palm Beach, Florida estate planning law firm today.
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