Q: Can I Write a Will in One State and Have It Witnessed by a Notary in Another?
I am interested in writing a will, but I need two witnesses to this will. My brother, who will be receiving nothing from the will, will be one of the witnesses. Since I have no other witness, I was thinking about using a notary public from a bank to be my second witness. I have an account at a major bank in one state and my brother lives in another nearby state. If I visit him, can I have a notary public at this bank witness my will (along with my brother) even though this notary public and bank are not in the state where I wrote the will and where I live?
A: To sign a self-proving will in Arizona (which is the kind you want to have) you need 2 witnesses and a notary and everybody must be present with you when you sign. If I understand what you are proposing, you will be one witness short. In addition, your brother, if he is a beneficiary under the will, is an "interested" witness, which may disqualify him from being a witness.
If you hire a qualified and licensed attorney to prepare your will, the attorney and his or her staff will make sure that your will is properly executed, witnessed and notarized. I strongly recommend that you do this as one of the most common problems with self-prepared wills is that they are not properly executed. The attorney will also prepare additional estate planning documents that you need, including both financial and medical powers of attorney, and can discuss with you the benefits of having a trust to avoid probate. I am glad that you are taking steps to safeguard your estate and your family, but I really hope that you see a professional for assistance.
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