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Does a living trust need to be notarized in California?

San Diego, CA |

Does a living trust need to be notarized in California?

Attorney Answers 5


  1. Technically, a trust is valid even without being notarized ... but, having said that, the Courts prefer a notarized document. It takes such a small amount of time (and costs so little), why not do it? Better to make sure the i's are dotted and the t's are crossed than to regret that you missed something!!

    The information you obtain at this site is not, nor is it intended to be, legal advice. You should consult an attorney for individual advice regarding your own situation.


  2. It is not a requirement, but it is a good practice.

    Any individual seeking legal advice for their own situation should retain their own legal counsel as this response provides information that is general in nature and not specific to any person's unique situation. Circular 230 Disclaimer - Advice given in this response cannot be used to eliminate penalties with the IRS or any other governmental agency.


  3. As the others have said, it is an easy step that is relatively inexpensive, so you should go ahead and do it when you are signing the trust document. This eliminates any kind of argument of a forged document, and may provide another witness if the family starts fighting about one member having the Settlor/Grantor/Trustmaker sign due to duress or undue influence.

    Many people will also sign other documents at the same time as your trust (powers of attorney, deeds, etc.), so it is good practice to have everything be notarized.


  4. As with my colleagues, I strongly suggest you notarize the trust document or agreement. I teach estate planning to paralegals at the University of San Diego, and my students learn trust documents are to be notarized as a best practice.

    If you are concerned about privacy, please be assured that this will not put your privacy at risk. Although they keep a written record, Notary Publics do not register the list of documents they have notarized with any government agency; the fact you have created a trust will not become available by 'Google' search!


  5. Yes, as a practical matter. Most banks, mortgage lenders and other financial institutions require it. This is especially true if it involves a deed to real property. The county recorder requires a deed or other similar document to be notarized.

    The information you obtain at this site is not, nor is it intended to be, legal advice. You should consult an attorney for individual advice regarding your own situation.

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