A Will should be in writing (printed or typewritten), signed by the person making the Will (called the “testator”), dated, and signed in the presence of two disinterested witnesses and a separate disinterested notary public, all of whom must be of legal age and all of whom must be present at the same place and time and observe each of the other participants sign the Will. The document should clearly state that it is the testator’s Will. In order to make a valid Will, the testator must be of sound mind (that is, not subject to any undue influence, duress, coercion or fraud). If the Will meets all of these tests it is valid and may be properly probated. A Will that is not acknowledged by a Notary Public is still valid, but it will not qualify as a “self-proving” Will. In that case, the witnesses will need to appear before the Register of Wills and verify the testator’s signature on the Will.
If the Will is handwritten (a holographic Will), then it must be entirely in the testator’s handwriting. It can’t be partially typed. The handwritten Will must be dated and signed at the end, and the testator has to be of sound mind. If it meets all of these tests, it does not need to be witnessed to be a valid Will.
Contact us at Drake, Hileman & Davis for an evaluation of any Will, particularly if you are uncertain if the Will is valid or can or should be submitted to probate.
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