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Does WA state require a will to be notarized?

Spokane, WA |

If I have two witnesses sign, is that sufficient to be a legal binding document?

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Attorney answers 4


You need to consult an attorney where the individual died to determine this answer.


WA does not require a notary to make a will valid.

RCW 11.12.020 (Requisites of wills — Foreign wills) provides:

(1) Every will shall be in writing signed by the testator or by some other person under the testator's direction in the testator's presence, and shall be attested by two or more competent witnesses, by subscribing their names to the will, or by signing an affidavit that complies with RCW 11.20.020(2), while in the presence of the testator and at the testator's direction or request: PROVIDED, That a last will and testament, executed in the mode prescribed by the law of the place where executed or of the testator's domicile, either at the time of the will's execution or at the time of the testator's death, shall be deemed to be legally executed, and shall be of the same force and effect as if executed in the mode prescribed by the laws of this state.

The reason why many attorneys do use a notary is that the will may not be needed for decades. In that time, the witnesses may have died, moved away, or otherwise cannot be located. Having a notary for the self-proving affidavit solves the problem of having to locate the witnesses years later.

You need to make sure you follow the statutory procedures for the will be accepted by the court for probate.


As the other attorney stated, the will needs only the signatures of two witnesses to be valid. No notary is required. However, when it comes time to probate the will, you will need to present testimony from the witnesses. It is best to have the witnesses sign an affidavit at the time the will is executed so you don't have to track them down years later. This affidavit (sometimes called a self-proving affidavit) would need to be notarized.

I am not your attorney. My response is provided for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice.


Mr. Steinacker is absolutely right. All you need to make a valid will are the two witnesses' signatures. However, to prove the validity of those witness signatures, an affidavit executed at the same time (making it a "self-proving" will) a notarization is necessary. Otherwise, the actual testimony of those two witnesses at the time of probate might be necessary.

This posting is for informational purposes only. It is not legal advice, nor does it establish an attorney-client relationship. For more information, please visit