Legal Question in Wills and Trusts in Texas

Notarizing Wills

My husband and I each prepared separate wills. We both have a child from previous relationships, both age 14 and 13 and one child from our own union, age 21 months. Should there be a notary public stamp for each of our signatures as well as the 2 witnesses? We have been getting conflicting answers to this issue so we decided to get legal advice. The will includes a self-proving affidavit which were all included in the Quicken Lawyer software we used. I always thought that the notary stamp must be placed closed to each signature to signify that the Notary has witnessed the signing. Would you please clarify this matter for us, where should the notary stamp be placed and should there be a stamp for each signature of the testator and witnesses for the will itself and the self-proving affidavit? If all signatures are contained in just one page of the will and the self-proving afidavit, would one stamp be enough to legalize these documents?

Thank you.

Asked on 1/04/05, 2:54 pm

3 Answers from Attorneys

Paul Velte IV Paul C. Velte IV, Attorney at Law

Re: Notarizing Wills

Every signature must be notarized. Did each of you and your witnesses sign in the presence of each other? If not, your will can be attacked. Are your wills contractual? That is, if one of you dies, can the other then make a new will leaving everything to someone else? Did you spell out use of an independent administration? Without a bond? Did you make a wise choice of executor, i.e., one who is actually competent to do the tasks required? Did you set up trusts for minor children and appoint a custodian for them? Will they inherit your house with debt or will your cash be used to pay off your mortgage before they inherit it? Will your executor have authority to sell real estate? I bet there's a dozen considerations you have not made; this is why self written wills are rarely worth the paper they're written on.

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Answered on 1/06/05, 9:59 am

Arthur Geffen Arthur H. Geffen, P.C.

Re: Notarizing Wills

The Texas statutory requirment for the proper execution of a self proving affidavit on a will that will be probated (one day) in Texas is an exacting requirement. It is not feasible for me to go into exactly what is requred here, but it appears to me that in order to save a few hundred dollars you both may be exposing each other as well as your heirs to some serious problems when the first of you or both of you pass away.

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Answered on 1/04/05, 3:01 pm
Peter Bradie Bradie, Bradie & Bradie

Re: Notarizing Wills

This is why do-it-yourself lawyering is dangerous. If a will is not properly executed, the will is invalid. Without knowing the form and format you've used, or what you've prepared, it would be impossible for me to tell you what goes where. For me to do otherwise would be malpractice.

Go to a lawyer to make sure that the execution is proper and save the surviving spouse untold grief, aggravation, and expense.

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Answered on 1/04/05, 3:57 pm

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