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Know your rights: Will does not need to be notarized to be valid

June 25, 2011 at 1:25 a.m.


By Richard Alderman

I have a will that was prepared some time ago. It is not notarized. Is it still valid?

In Texas, a printed or form will is valid if it is signed, and witnessed by two witnesses. There is no requirement that a will be notarized. Having said that, however, there are two things in your question that suggest you might want to get a new will prepared.

First, you say the will was prepared "some time ago." I am not sure how long ago "some time" is, but it may be a good idea to get a new updated will. Both the law and your situation may have changed. Second, although a will does not have to be notarized to be valid, it should be notarized to make it easier and less costly to probate. My suggestion is to get a new will with a "self-proving affidavit," the formal name for the notary's statement.

I have been divorced since May of 1999. I am planning to get married again in July. If I die before my child support obligation is completed, where does the money come from to continue the support? Will my new wife be obligated to pay?

As a general rule, the obligation to pay support ends upon the death of the obligated party. In other words, the obligation ends upon your death. If you were married at the time of your death, your wife would have no obligation to pay.

Richard Alderman, a consumer advocate popularly known as "the People's Lawyer," is a professor at the University of Houston Law School in Houston. Visit peopleslawyer.net.

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