Updated: Jul 10
Creating a Last Will and Testament is one of the most important legal documents you can make in your lifetime. A Will makes sure that your loved ones are taken care of in the future and reduces the amount of confusion over your estate as well. Many people wait until the very last minute to get this done, which creates stress. Some don't make a Will at all! If that happens, the person is said to have died "intestate" and state laws will determine how and to whom the person's assets will be distrubuted (via probate court). You don't want the state making decisions about your money, things, and who gets them! Make sure to get ahead of this problem by making a Will the fast and easy way; then you can get it notarized by NNN!
In order for a Will to be valid in TN, it must meet the laws of the state it is written in. Generally, this includes:
Being written on paper (typed or printed)
Signed by the person creating the Will (called the "testator" or "testatrix")
Signed by two "disinterested" witnesses not related by blood, marriage, or adoption who are physically present to see the testator and other witness sign the Will
The testator must be over 18 years old
The testator must be competent and of "sound mind" to sign (not under the influence of any mind altering drugs or substances, aware of what they are signing, not deemed incompetent in a prior legal proceeding)
Regarding witnesses, if the only witness you can find is related to you this doesn't actually invalidate the Will. However, any gifts to an "interested" witness will be void, so please do your best to find "disinterested" ones. Regarding "sound mind," it's important to make sure the testator can answer simple questions such as: "What month is it? What year is it? Who is the current president? etc." Many testators we've worked with are currently in the hospital. Our notary will always judge their competency, so it's important to suspend mind altering drugs before they arrive. If the testator is not competent to sign, the notarization will be cancelled.
A Will in TN does not have to be notarized to be valid, but it is extremely helpful and is a good future investment. Without a notarization, there is no proof of anything and probate court will have to go through procedures to make sure everything is legal. This can tie up bank funds and all types of other things. This also leaves you open to multiple people in your life fighting over your items and causing strife between your loved ones. To avoid this, get your Will notarized. When a notary notarizes your Will it becomes "Self-Proven." This means that no witnesses will have to be found and testify in front of the courts regarding your Will, because the court automatically accepts a notarized Will as authentic.
To do this, first create your Will. You can handwrite it (a Holographic Will), but it is better to have it typed. Either you or a lawyer can do this. To do it yourself, click here and you can quickly create a Will that follows the laws of the state of TN. Make sure the testator and all witnesses have unexpired ID and then book your appointment with us. All parties will sign in front of each other and the notary. Then, the self-proving affidavit, where the witnesses swear to the validity of the document, will be notarized. Once the affidavit is attached to the Will, you will be all set. Don't worry if your Will doesn't come with an affidavit as our notary can provide you with one. By taking a few moments to complete this important task, you spare your loved ones a world of grief in an already dark time. If you haven't completed your Will, contact us today and receive peace of mind!
In closing, this is a quick snapshot of what you should do to manage your estate before your passing, but to best ensure your wishes will be fulfilled talk to a lawer or your local legal services for in depth guidance.