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

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?

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

Attorney Answers 2


  1. Best answer

    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 Ingham Counties. My practice is focused in the areas of estate planning and probate administration. I am ethically required to state that the above answer does not create an attorney/client relationship. These responses should be considered general legal education and are intended to provide general information about the question asked. Frequently, the question does not include important facts that, if known, could significantly change the answer. Information provided on this site should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a licensed attorney that practices in your state. The law changes frequently and varies from state to state. If I refer to your state's laws, you should not rely on what I say; I just did a quick Internet search and found something that looked relevant that I hoped you would find helpful. You should verify and confirm any information provided with an attorney licensed in your state.


  2. 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 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 is www.sjfpc.com. and his blog is <http://frommtaxes.wordpress.com/> Mr. Fromm is ethically required to state that the response herein is not legal advice and does not create an attorney/ client relationship. Also, there are no recognized legal specialties under Pennsylvania law. Any references to a trust, estate or tax lawyer refer only to the fact that Mr. Fromm limits his practice to these areas of the law. These responses are only in the form of legal education and are intended to only provide general information about the matter within the question. Oftentimes the question does not include significant and important facts and timelines that if known could significantly change the reply or make such reply unsuitable. Mr. Fromm strongly advises the questioner to confer with an attorney in their state in order to ensure proper advice is received. By using this site you understand and agree that there is no attorney client relationship or confidentiality between you and the attorney responding. This site should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a licensed attorney that practices in the subject area in your jurisdiction, who is familiar with your specific facts and all of the circumstances and with whom you have an attorney client relationship. The law changes frequently and varies from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. The information and materials provided are general in nature, and may not apply to a specific factual or legal circumstance described in the question or omitted from the question. Circular 230 Disclaimer - Any information in this comment may not be used to eliminate or reduce penalties by the IRS or any other governmental agency.

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