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Can I notarize a last will and testament prepared 17 years ago?

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My client did a will 17 years ago. She wants me to notarize it. Originally, she had it witnessed by 2 people. Is it okay to now notarize or should she make a new one? — L. B., California

As a Notary, you are not authorized to provide legal advice to a customer, which means you cannot answer whether the client should draft a new will or if the existing will requires notarization.

You can suggest that the client contact a qualified professional authorized to give legal advice, such as a probate attorney, to answer any legal questions regarding the current will and if it needs to be notarized. A will should never be notarized if the testator is asking the Notary questions about how to proceed. The customer should be following authoritative legal instructions and a certificate or certificates must be provided for the Notary to complete. 

For more information, please see the page “Notarize a Will” in the NNA Knowledge Center.

Hotline answers are based on the laws in the state where the question originated and may not reflect the laws of other states. If in doubt, always refer to your own state statutes. – The Editors

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1 Comment

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Anne D.

27 May 2024

California wills are not notarized, so this doesn't make sense.

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