Wills in Pennsylvania: Do They Have to Be Notarized

Signing a will

Does a Will Need to be Notarized in Pennsylvania?

Notarizing a will is optional to make it valid in Pennsylvania. The only legal requirement is for the testator (the person making the will) to sign your will after writing it. If the testator can't sign the choice, they should make a mark representing a signature.

In this case, the marking should be witnessed by two competent people.

The Requirements for Pennsylvania Wills

Pennsylvania laws state that anyone over 18 can make a will if they are of sound mind.

These documents are only accepted in writing since state laws don't take oral wills.

However, a well written according to the laws of another state can be considered valid in Pennsylvania (even oral wills) if the testator was domiciled in that given state either upon death or when the will was executed.

Proving the Will

Although there is no absolute need for wills notarized in Pennsylvania, after the testator's death, someone must take the will to the Register of Wills office for the court to determine whether or not it's valid.

In this case, there is a need for two witnesses that could identify the testator's signature on the will. They may have to appear in front of a notary to do so.

Self-Proving Wills – A Real Possibility

In Pennsylvania, it is possible to write a self-proving will.

This is the kind of will that accompanies an affidavit identifying the signature of the testator, the will, and the witnesses who can testify to see the testator signing the will.

There is no legal requirement for the will to have an affidavit or for it to be notarized, but these make the process easier and faster because they prove the will's validity to the court.

Furthermore, the witnesses will not need to go to court to testify that the testator has signed the will.

How much do the witnesses have to know?

If you decide to have witnesses see you sign the will, you shouldn't worry about privacy issues.

The witnesses don't need to know about the contents of the will. It is enough for you to tell them that the document in question is your will.

Although some might say it is pointless, there are numerous wills notarized in Pennsylvania.

This gives people a sense of security that everything will be in order after they pass away and their loved ones will be protected.

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