To make it quick and simple — Yes, a Notary can notarize signatures on a Will, although it is generally discouraged unless given written instructions by an Attorney. Wills are normally witnessed, but not notarized. But then, why be normal?
Can a notary witness a Will?
YES, a Notary can witness the signing of any document. However, it is discouraged for a notary to be involved in any transaction as a witness or Notary where they might have beneficial interest or financial interest! If the notary benefits in any way from a Will being signed or is closely related to a beneficiary, they could be said to have beneficial interest. Anybody eighteen years of age or older who can sign their own name and watch someone else sign can be a witness to a will. It is that simple!
Can a notary draft a Will?
Document drafting might be considered part of the practice of law in your state. You can ask your state bar association if a Notary can draft a document, or if a notary can draft a legal document. The answer is most likely no. Unless you are trained and authorized, I would stay away from document drafting of legal documents since it is so sensitive!
Then who can draft a Will?
Ask an Attorney to help you draft a Will. Ask the Attorney if the Will should be notarized or only witnessed. The witnesses of the Will can also be notarized by the way!
What about a Living Will?
Living Wills are typically very long documents drafted by Attorneys who specialize in Health Care legal documents. Health Care Power Of Attorney documents are close relatives of Living Wills. Living Wills are typically notarized and often need a notarization in the middle of the document as well as at the end of the potentially dozens of pages.
Can a notary notarize a Living Will?
How about a Dying Will or a Won’t? Or a Living Will that doesn’t have a pulse! I know a Notary who is dying to notarize a Won’t with or without instructions from an Attorney!
(1) Yes, Notary can notarize signatures on a Will, although it is generally discouraged w/o written instructions from an Attorney.
(2) Document drafting may or may not be considered practicing law in your state. Ask the Bar Association.
(3) The difference between a regular Will and a Living Will is that the latter has a pulse.
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You could get sued if you don’t have a business license
Legally, you might need to get a business license
Did you just get your Notary Commission? Good for you! Do you want to start a business doing notarizations? unlikely unless you have gotten huge without a business license. However, there is a small chance that someone else might register that business name somewhere in your state or county and sue you for damages. After all, you were Legally, you might need to get a business license. But, most notaries don’t get one until they want to use a particular business name. Some even advertise in the yellow pages without having a registered business name. What is the risk in not doing so? Will the state government come crashing down on you? That is using THEIR business name and they could claim to have lost money!
Changing or removing your business name
The problem is that once you put your business name in print on the internet or in printed advertising, you might find it very difficult to get change it or remove it. Google keeps a cache of old pages for months as well, so that information you posted on the internet could haunt you long after you remove it!
Notary Business names that change every month?
We have notaries on 123notary who change their business name every month. Each time it is a different variation. In October it is MG Notary Service, and then it changes to MG Properties, and then in December it is Mary’s Notary & Apostille. Which one is it? Notaries cannot change their personal or business name on our site without my intervention. But, when I see that they are changing their business name every month, I begin to think that “perhaps” their business name is not really registered, and that they don’t have business licenses. Hmmm. Once I asked someone to send me proof of their business license and they sent me a copy of a newspaper ad they had used to publish their business name. The text was different sizes and on different lines, and I couldn’t tell which part of the name was commentary and which part was the name on their business license. Good God!
Be safe and get registered
It is better to think long and hard about what your business name should be. Then, register your business name, and get a company bank account. Then you can advertise, and do business as a DBA without “as much” risk of being sued due to your business name. There can always be some clown who still wants to make trouble with you who has that same business name registered in another county, but if you are playing by the rules, it will be harder for someone to question the legitimacy of your business name and probably less likely that they can sue you for “business name infringement”. Your name on your notary commission is registered, why shouldn’t your business name as well?
(1) Did you just get your notary commission? Good! You need to get a business license now.
(2) Once your business name is registered & in print, it is not easy to change it. Think it over first.
(3) We have notaries on 123notary who change their business name every month. Doesn’t sound very legal.
(4) You might be held liable for “business name infringement” if you don’t register your biz name.
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