How can I invalidate my mother’s Will if it only had my mom’s signature and the notary’s signature?

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How can I invalidate my mother’s Will if it only had my mom’s signature and the notary’s signature?

Can the notary be held liable? Not a holographic Will.

Asked on July 20, 2011 Texas

Answers:

M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

First of all, a Will need not be notarized. There is something that can be attached to a Will called a "self proving affidavit" which must be signedby 2 witnesses and which must be notorized. For this a notary cannot also be one of the witnesses. However the document is not required; it just makes admitting a Will to probate easier; it eliminates the need for witnesses to appear in a probate proceeding to testify about the validity of a Will, which saves time and expense.

As for the Will itself, again no notary seal is required. In TX for a valid Will the testator (i.e. the person making the Will) must sign and there must be present 2 witnesses (over the age of 14). So if the notarywas a witness to just the Will that would be fine as long as there was second witness. If there was no such second witness then one of the formalities of a valid Will was missing. And in a cases where a Will does not meet all the requirement set forth by the statutes, it will be declared invalid. This means that the estate may be distributed according to a statutory formula rather than the way the testator would have preferred.

At this point you need to consult directly with a probate attorney in your area.


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