Turner, OR asked in Estate Planning and Probate for Oregon

Q: Is a will that is handwritten in Oregon, signed by the testator and notarized valid?

There was another witness present who was said to inherit almost everything according to the will, but that person did not sign. The only signatures on the paper is the testator and notary.

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2 Lawyer Answers
Vincent J. Bernabei
Vincent J. Bernabei
Answered
  • Estate Planning Lawyer
  • Beaverton, OR
  • Licensed in Oregon

A: It is now possible under Oregon's "harmless error" statute that a written document that is not signed in the presence of, and by two qualified witnesses may be a valid will.

The question is whether there is clear and convincing evidence that the testator intended the specific writing at issue to be his or her will at the time of its creation. The clear and convincing evidence standard requires more than presenting the document itself or the document and an authenticated signature.

You should consult with an attorney who can evaluate the evidence and circumstances specific to your case.

Theressa Hollis
Theressa Hollis
Answered
  • Estate Planning Lawyer
  • Portland, OR
  • Licensed in Oregon

A: A valid Will in Oregon must be signed by two witnesses. However, Oregon has a law that may allow this writing to be probated to control the estate if the person intended the writing to be his/her Will. I recommend you consult with a probate attorney for assistance.

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