Will a notarized paper with my wishes on it be as legal as a will. Before something happens to my husband and I.

Asked almost 2 years ago - Mount Pleasant, UT

If we end up not being able to care for our children or we pass a way.

Attorney answers (4)

  1. Randall J Holmgren

    Contributor Level 9

    3

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . The notary simply serves as evidence that you signed the document and that no one forged your name. That's all. Each state has requirements for whether the document or paper you signed is a valid will or not. In Utah, a handwritten will needs no notary or witnesses, but it has to be 100% in your handwriting; nothing typed or printed. On the other hand, a typed or printed will has to be witnessed by two persons of legal age who are not named in the will. For example, a couple of neighbors. It is good to have that will notarized, but it is not essential. A witnessed and notarized will is self-proving. That means that when the will is probated, in probate court, the witnesses don't have to come to court to testify that they saw you sign the will; the notary becomes the proof that you and the witnesses all signed the will. Good luck!

  2. James P. Frederick

    Contributor Level 20

    2

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . I am not sure. Maybe. Maybe not. There is no way to say for sure. If that is the way you want to leave things for your kids, then I guess you can save some money and write away.

    The sad fact is, every state has rules about what does and does not qualify as a Will. My first question for you is: is a Will the best estate planning tool for you? I do not know, because you have not provided enough facts. (You cannot possibly provide enough facts in 800 characters or less).

    Some other questions:
    How old are your kids? (If they are minors, a Will could lead to separate conservatorship estates for each of your kids, to be administered through probate until the child for that estate becomes an adult.)
    Do you want to avoid probate? (You cannot do that with a Will).
    Do you want to have your kids inherit everything in a lump sum, or through staggered distributions over time? (A Will is not a good tool for staggering distributions, because probate administration will generally need to continue throughout the duration of the conservatorship estates.)

    Aside from the considerations of a Will, you have not mentioned power of attorney forms. These forms take care of YOU and your affairs, while you are alive, but incapacitated. If you do not have durable power of attorney forms, probate proceedings will be necessary to appoint a guardian/conservator for YOU, if you become incapacitated. This is easily avoidable with a power of attorney form, provided it is properly set up.

    Estate planning is not a do-it-yourself project. The best case scenario is that you will do no harm and luck upon something that can be made to work...like your notarized note. Worst case scenario...your estate is tied up for years in probate and costs your children thousands of dollars more than it should have. The court costs and attorney fees eat up assets that should have gone to your family. Is it worth the risk?

    An estate planning attorney can help you sort through all of the options available to you and help you determine your best option. You owe it to your family to do this correctly and make sure that everything is set up to ensure that your objectives will be realized.

    James Frederick

    *** LEGAL DISCLAIMER I am licensed to practice law in the State of Michigan and have offices in Wayne and... more
  3. Paul A. Smolinski

    Pro

    Contributor Level 16

    1

    Lawyer agrees

    Answered . No would be the simple answer unless you literally own no property.

    Talk with a local attorney and see what he/she thinks makes sense for you and your husband. At least you will get a professional opinion and find out the costs.

    Best wishes.

    Legal Disclaimer: Paul A. Smolinski is licensed to practice law in the State of Illinois only, and as such, his... more
  4. James P. Frederick

    Contributor Level 20

    1

    Lawyer agrees

    Answered . I am not sure. Maybe. Maybe not. There is no way to say for sure. If that is the way you want to leave things for your kids, then I guess you can save some money and write away.

    The sad fact is, every state has rules about what does and does not qualify as a Will. My first question for you is: is a Will the best estate planning tool for you? I do not know, because you have not provided enough facts. (You cannot possibly provide enough facts in 800 characters or less).

    Some other questions:
    How old are your kids? (If they are minors, a Will could lead to separate conservatorship estates for each of your kids, to be administered through probate until the child for that estate becomes an adult.)
    Do you want to avoid probate? (You cannot do that with a Will).
    Do you want to have your kids inherit everything in a lump sum, or through staggered distributions over time? (A Will is not a good tool for staggering distributions, because probate administration will generally need to continue throughout the duration of the conservatorship estates.)

    Aside from the considerations of a Will, you have not mentioned power of attorney forms. These forms take care of YOU and your affairs, while you are alive, but incapacitated. If you do not have durable power of attorney forms, probate proceedings will be necessary to appoint a guardian/conservator for YOU, if you become incapacitated. This is easily avoidable with a power of attorney form, provided it is properly set up.

    Estate planning is not a do-it-yourself project. The best case scenario is that you will do no harm and luck upon something that can be made to work...like your notarized note. Worst case scenario...your estate is tied up for years in probate and costs your children thousands of dollars more than it should have. The court costs and attorney fees eat up assets that should have gone to your family. Is it worth the risk?

    An estate planning attorney can help you sort through all of the options available to you and help you determine your best option. You owe it to your family to do this correctly and make sure that everything is set up to ensure that your objectives will be realized.

    James Frederick

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

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