Your Cookies are Disabled! sets cookies on your computer to help improve performance and provide a more engaging user experience. By using this site, you accept the terms of our cookie policy. Learn more.

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

Photo of woman with long dark hair on phone. She is looking at papers in her hand. Text on image reads NNA Hotline Tip.

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

Confronted with a tricky notarization? Unsure how to proceed? NNA members have unlimited access to our expertly trained NNA Hotline consultants to help you with all of your notarial questions. Call 1-888-876-0827, Monday through Friday, 6 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. PST; Saturday, 5 a.m. to 5 p.m. PST.

View All: Hotline Tips

1 Comment

Add your comment

Anne D.

27 May 2024

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

Leave a Comment

Required *

All comments are reviewed and if approved, will display.