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FAQs About Wills

Is A Will Signed By One Witness Valid If It Is Also Signed by a Notary?

by Rania Combs

Writing

I have written before about the requirements of a valid will in Texas. To be valid, a Will must be signed by the testator, or another person at the testator’s direction and in his presence, and attested in the presence of the testator by at least two credible witnesses.

I received a note this week from a woman whose father had signed a codicil. Only one witness had signed it, but it was also signed by a notary. She asked whether the notary’s signature could qualify as that of a second witness.

There is case law to support the position that if a Will is signed by only one witness, the notary’s signature may count as that of a second witness. In Reagan vs. Bailey, an individual contested the admission of a codicil to probate because it was signed by only one witness. However, the codicil was also signed by a notary. The Court of Appeals in Fort Worth determined that the codicil was properly admitted to probate as a valid Will.

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