Can an amendment to a will be done without any witnesses present or having them sign it?

Asked over 2 years ago - New Prague, MN

Recently my sister took my dad to her friend's house who happened to be notary republic and they made adjustments to his will to deduct a certain amount from my inheritance. I am wondering since there were no witnesses present and only my dad and this notary republic signed the document if this would be a biding document or not?

Additional information

Sorry I meant to say at the end..." If this would be a legal and binding document or not."

Thanks,

Attorney answers (2)

  1. James P. Frederick

    Contributor Level 20

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    Answered . It just depends. In Michigan, this *could* be upheld. But it would be considered suspect because the ordinary formalities were not observed. Who is going to testify as to your mother's intent and capacity? Not the attorney, because there was none. Not the witnesses, because there were none. Your sister's testimony would be suspect. It is also possible that a court could find that she exerted undue influence on your dad. Of course, worst case scenario for your sister is likely that the codicil would not hold up and you simply go back to the original Will.

    You probably should review BOTH documents with an attorney to see what effect the codicil would have and how best you would challenge it. Medical records showing diminished capacity would also be helpful to your cause.

    Obviously, this is going to affect your relationship with your sister, one way or the other. This is certainly something to think about as you are determining how best to proceed.

    Best of luck to you!

    James Frederick

    *** LEGAL DISCLAIMER I am licensed to practice law in the State of Michigan and have offices in Wayne and... more
  2. Steven J. Fromm

    Contributor Level 20

    Answered . Generally codicils have to have the same formality as wills. In addition, it sounds like this is a situation of duress, overreaching and fraud. You need to meet with an estates litigation attorney immediately to discuss your options.

    Hope this helps.

    Please remember to designate a best answer to your question.

    Mr. Fromm is licensed to practice law throughout the state of PA with offices in Philadelphia and Montgomery Counties. He is authorized to handle IRS matters throughout the United States. His phone number is 215-735-2336 or his email address is sjfpc@comcast.net , his website for more tax, estate and business articles is www.sjfpc.com. and his blog is

    LEGAL DISCLAIMER Mr. Fromm is licensed to practice law throughout the state of PA with offices in Philadelphia... more

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