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Hotline Tip: Can I Notarize My Mothers Will?

NNA Hotline Tips For NotariesAs an Illinois Notary, is it legal for me to notarize the witness’ signatures on my mother's will, which also lists me as one of the beneficiaries? – R.H., Carbondale, IL

You should not notarize documents pertaining to the will, as you are a named beneficiary of the will. The applicable statute is 5 ILCS 312/6-104(b), which reads, “A notary public shall not acknowledge (sic) any instrument in which the notary’s name appears as a party to the transaction.” A discussion of this particular statute below is taken from the Illinois Notary Law Primer:

Disqualifying Interest

Impartiality. Notaries are appointed by the state to be impartial, disinterested witnesses whose screening duties help ensure the integrity of important legal and commercial transactions. Lack of impartiality by a Notary throws doubt on the integrity and lawfulness of any transaction. A Notary must never notarize his or her own signature, or notarize in a transaction in which the Notary has a financial or beneficial interest.

Illinois statutes specify that a Notary may not notarize any instrument in which the Notary’s name appears as a party to the transaction (5 ILCS 312/6-104[b]).

Similar statutes with regard to beneficial interest exist in most states. To find out the specific laws in your state, you can consult your State Law Primer, or contact the NNA Hotline.


Confronted with a tricky notarization? Unsure how to proceed? NNA members have unlimited access to our expertly trained NNA Hotline counselors to help you with all of your notarial questions. Call (888) 876-0827Monday through Friday, 5 a.m. to 7 p.m. PST; Saturday, 5 a.m. to 5 p.m. PST

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