Legal Question in Wills and Trusts in California

does a will have to be notarized in California? We got my Grandma's will a few weeks ago and there where changes made that dont look right and it just looks like a typed up paper.

Asked on 8/06/13, 9:59 am

3 Answers from Attorneys

Jennifer Rouse Meissner Joseph & Palley
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No, a will does not need to be notarized. If the document has two witnesses and is signed by your grandmother, then it is probably a valid will. Even if there are not two witnesses, it may qualify as a valid will so long as there is language in the will which clearly shows it was your grandmother's intent that the document be her will. These issues should be addressed when someone petitions to admit the will to probate.

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Answered on 8/06/13, 10:08 am
William Christian Rodi Pollock
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I agree with Jennifer as to the will requirements. You should engage capable probate counsel to advise you on how to interpet and implement the will, especially with the form of will you describe.

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Answered on 8/06/13, 10:36 am
Anthony Roach Law Office of Anthony A. Roach
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This is a frequently asked question that I just addressed on my website: http://www.anthonyaroachesquire.com/index.php/legal-faqs/probate-wills-trusts-and-estate-planning-faqs

As Ms. Rouse pointed out, there is a provision that allows a proponent of a will to get around the normal attestation clause by proving with clear and convincing evidence that the testator intended the defective document to be his or her will. I personally think the legislature opened the door to fraud by creating this exception in 2008, and I think it will lead to more will contests and litigation.

I do suggest you speak to an attorney that you feel comfortable with as you may have evidence or potential evidence that the will has been improperly altered or forged.

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Answered on 8/06/13, 11:05 am

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