DO WILLS HAVE TO BE NOTARIZED IN PENNSYLVANIA?
Whether or not people need wills notarized in Pennsylvania depends on personal preference. According to state laws, the testator (the person making the will) isn’t required to notarize it for it to be valid; however, notarization is still common. At the same time, the witnesses signing the will also have to prove that they saw the testator sign the will.
The Requirements for Pennsylvania Wills
The Pennsylvania laws state that any person over the age of 18 can make a will if they are of sound mind. These documents are only accepted in writing since the state laws don’t accept oral wills. However, a will 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.
The Need for Signatures
Unlike in the case of other states, Pennsylvania does not require a will to be signed by witnesses for it to be considered valid. The only legal requirement is for the testator to sign the will after writing it. In case the testator isn’t able to sign the will, they should make a mark to represent a signature. In this case, the marking should be witnessed by two competent people.
Proving the Will
Although there is no absolute need for wills notarized in Pennsylvania, after the testator’s death there is need for someone to 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. It is possible that they will 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 seeing 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 validity of the will to the court. Furthermore, there will be no need for the witnesses to go to court to testify that the will has been signed by the testator.
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 that 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.