Can I Write My Own Will and Have It Notarized? Pros & Cons of DIY

Can I write my own will and have it notarized? The short answer is yes. But, it does depend on several factors.

In this article, we will discuss these factors, share reasons why you may want to engage a lawyer, and answer common questions we receive on the topic.

This article is part of our free series on banking, ranging from opening a private bank account to navigating estate planning considerations, which you can access by clicking here.

Feel free to use the table of contents to jump ahead to the sections most relevant to you.

Table of Contents

  1. Can I Write My Own Will and Have It Notarized?
  2. Should I Have a Lawyer Draft Up My Will?
  3. Frequently Asked Questions
  4. Do You Want Help Opening Bank Accounts?

Can I Write My Own Will and Have It Notarized?

Yes, you can write your own will and have it notarized as a testator in most jurisdictions. However, to ensure a last will and testament has legal validity, it usually needs to be signed by a notary public and witnesses.

That said, each jurisdiction treats will writing differently. Certain jurisdictions allow a DIY will while others do not. Likewise, different states have requirements for testamentary capacity and witness requirements.

Additionally, as we’ll discuss below, regardless of whether a jurisdiction allows you to write your own will there are reasons to consider using an estate planning professional. This includes ensuring that inheritance and asset distribution happen according to your wishes and that all legal issues are addressed.

Should I Have a Lawyer Draft Up My Will?

Whether you should have a lawyer draft up your will is a decision that should be based on your personal preferences, circumstances and the specific jurisdiction where your will is required after your passing. In other words, the question is not whether you can write and notarize a will, it’s whether that is a good idea.

For example, not all jurisdictions allow individuals to prepare their own will, though certain jurisdictions do. With this in mind, you should confirm the specific requirements of your relevant jurisdiction before proceeding.

Additionally, whether or not your jurisdiction allows you to draft your own will, you may want to engage a qualified lawyer. This is because lawyers that specialize in estate planning can offer experience, understanding, and insights into the best way to approach various issues. These issues can include the transfer of assets, tax-related matters, and more.

Benefits of Estate Lawyers

Estate lawyers have experience and understanding of issues related to the preparation of wills, estate planning structures, and relevant issues that need to be considered at the end of life. As a result, they can offer a lot of value to someone looking to prepare a last will and testament.

Additionally, most estate lawyers also provide support in terms of asset protection, tax optimization, and even family planning and harmony after the passing of a senior family member.

Can an Estate Planning Lawyer Have My Will Notarized?

Yes, an estate planning lawyer can have your will notarized by employing the services of a notary public. However, it’s important to point out that an estate planning lawyer is unable to notarize your will directly since they are not a notary.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Below are a few of the most common questions we receive from people looking into if they can write their own will and have it notarized. If you have further questions you would like to ask our team, don’t hesitate to get in touch.

What Is an Example of a Simple Will?

A simple will is a single document that is prepared by an individual to act as their last wishes. It includes a declaration of their identity, intentions, the appointment of an executor, distribution of their assets, and guardianship of minor children.

Can I Write My Own Will in Minnesota?

Yes, you can write your own will in Minnesota. However, the will must be in writing and clearly state that the intention of the document is to act as your will. Additionally, you will need to sign and date the will, along with two witnesses.

Can I Write My Own Will and Have It Notarized in New York?

Yes, you can write your own will and have it notarized in the state of New York. In fact, you just need to write your wishes clearly and unequivocally in front of two witnesses, then have the document signed and dated by yourself and the witnesses.

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