Legal

An Overview of Notarizing Wills and Testaments

Life is not permanent, and death is inevitable. Thus, it becomes an act of prudence that one makes appropriate arrangements while they are still alive for the disposition and distribution of their lifetime’s earnings, wealth, and properties to their loved ones.

Wills and testaments thus become vital documents in this case. The article discusses how a notary can help with the same. Furthermore, suppose you are seeking a notary in cerritos, in that case, you will understand what rules and regulations a notary need to follow and the factors they need to consider before notarizing a will.

What is a Will?

A will is a legally binding document outlining how a person’s wealth, assets, and properties shall be distributed upon death. A will is also known as the testament. The person who creates a will is known as a testator if he is a male. If the creator of the testament is female, she is known as a testatrix.

A will is generally bound to be executed only after the person’s death. Therefore it becomes all the more crucial to create a testament that is legally error-free and is eligible for probate.

What is Probate?

Probate is a legal process where the will is validated and authenticated. In layman’s terms, probate is the legal process of analyzing and transferring the assets to the heirs. The probate of a testament takes place under the seal of the court.

If there exists no debate or dispute regarding any part of the will, it can be executed without going through the probate process. However, since probate signifies the court seal, it is preferable to make a will undergo the probate process, especially where there may be chances of dispute in the future, where the asset distribution is complex, or the amount involved is significantly large.

Notarizing a Will

Generally, a will has to be signed by the testator and two witnesses before a notary public to be legally executable. However, some state laws do not require a will to be notarized to be legally valid. In some instances, a few states also advise notaries against signing the testaments unless the notaries are well trained and experienced in executing them.

Thus, when a notary from cerritos ca examines the will, they ought to check whether the legal requirements as laid down by the laws and regulations of California are adhered to or not.

Functions of a Notary in Signing a Will

Due to its legal implications a notary’s role while signing a will becomes crucial.

The requirements of a will to be valid and legal vary according to the respective state laws and regulations.

Furthermore, the functioning of the notaries and signing of a will depends upon the state a notary is functioning from.

Therefore, the roles, functions, and responsibilities of a notary in Cerritos who follows state laws and regulations of California will differ from that of a notary from a different state.

Most of the notaries who come across last wills and testaments are acting in the capacity of a legal assistant or employee of an attorney or a law firm. A properly drafted testament contains a notarial certificate with definite instructions that need to be filled by the notaries.

A good chance of complications can arise when a person drafts their will without any legal consultancy and aid. Therefore, it is always advisable to seek legal professionals before and during drafting a will.

Handwritten Wills and Holographic Wills

Will has been in existence since before the use of computers and typewriters. During those times, only handwritten wills are available. A handwritten will that is entirely in the testator’s handwriting is holographic.

A holographic will is completely legal and binding. However, a handwritten will loses its claim of holography when it is signed by a witness or a notary. Thus, it will stand to lose its claim of being a valid legal document too.

Therefore, a notary may refuse to sign a handwritten will, unless an appropriate certificate of acknowledgment aids it.

Legal Requirements of a Will

Different states, including California, have various requirements for the will to be valid. However, few principal requirements, such as the will must be signed by two witnesses, etc., are prevalent in every case.

Role of Notary While Signing the Will

If a notary in Cerritos, CA, decides to sign a will, they can sign it only in the capacity of a notary and not as a witness. It is contrary to the most common practices in the real estate scenario.

Further, a notary will sign a will only after verifying and authenticating the signature of both of the witnesses in the presence. The professional must ensure that the witnesses are of sound mind and have not been coerced into signing the will.

Since a notarized will becomes a legally binding document, there may arise a situation where a notary is reluctant and may refuse to sign a will.  Therefore, a notary may refuse to sign an ordinary will document.

Instead, a notary in Cerritos, CA, may often suggest taking the help of a competent attorney in drafting and validating the will. They can also counsel an appropriate and suitable legal attorney or law firm in some particular cases. It is done to keep the testator’s intention intact and upright in good faith.

Wrap Up

 It is crucial that a will be legally valid and held upright to its authentic testimony. Notaries in Cerritos will adhere to the laws and regulations of the state of California as applicable while notarizing a will. They may also counsel you to take legal advice from a competent attorney for drafting your will. It will save you and your legal heirs from unnecessary harassment in the future.

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