How to Notarize Your Will and Trust?
5 min read

How to Notarize Your Will and Trust?

What is a remote notary? How does remote notarization work? This article discusses the basics of remote notarization and how this can make your Estate Planning process more efficient! Keep reading to learn more!

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Did you know that in most states, you no longer have to be physically present with a notary in order to have a document notarized? In the old days, before the internet and the global pandemic, having something notarized involved a trip to the bank, the library, or a shipping store, where you could pay to have a document physically notarized. Thankfully, things have changed.

FastWill is proud to partner with OnlineNotaryCenter to help you notarize your Will and estate documents by simply clicking on a Zoom link. Read on for more information about how remote notary services can make the estate planning process more efficient.

What is a Notary Public?

A notary, also known as a notary public, is a public official who serves as an impartial witness to legal and financial transactions. The primary role of a notary is to verify the identity of individuals signing important documents and to ensure the authenticity and legality of those documents. Notaries play a crucial role in preventing fraud and maintaining the integrity of legal and financial transactions.

What's a Remote Notary Service?

A "remote notary" refers to a notary public who conducts notarization services remotely, typically using video conferencing technology such as Zoom. The purpose of a remote notary is to let you get your documents notarized without physically being present in the same location as the notary public. Remote notarization is often used for various legal and financial transactions, including real estate transactions, legal documents, and financial agreements.

Why Should I Get My Will Notarized?

Although most states do not require notarization to make a Will valid, there are advantages to notarization. When a Will is notarized, it becomes "self-proving." A self-proving Will is a type of Will that includes an affidavit or a sworn statement signed by the witnesses. This affidavit serves as evidence that the will was executed properly and that the person making the Will (known as the "testator") had testamentary capacity at the time of signing. By including a self-proving affidavit, the will can be admitted to probate without requiring the witnesses to testify in court to confirm its validity. This means that the probate process will be faster and more efficient. Without a self-proving affidavit, the probate court may require the witnesses to the Will to appear in court and testify under oath regarding the Will's execution. This can be inconvenient and may not always be possible, especially if the witnesses are deceased or are otherwise unavailable.

What is a Self-Proving Witness Affidavit?

A self-proving witness affidavit is evidence that a Will is legally valid and that it was properly executed. The specific requirements for self-proving affidavits and their legal validity vary from state to state. FastWill makes it easy to follow the applicable laws and regulations in your jurisdiction when creating and using a self-proving affidavit with your Will.

How Does Remote Notarization Work?

When you need a remote notary, you start by scheduling an appointment with a remote notary public who offers these services. During the scheduled appointment, you and the notary will connect via a secure video conference platform. This technology allows the notary to verify your identity and witness the signing of the estate planning documents. The notary will ask you to provide acceptable forms of identification to verify your identity in accordance with your state's law. For example, the notaries at OnlineNotaryCenter understand your state's legal requirements and they will advise you on what records you need to bring.

The process of using a remote notary is similar to what you experience with in-person services. You will sign the electronic document in the presence of the notary during the video conference. The notary watches as you sign and applies their notarial seal or electronic signature to your Will and other legal documents. The notarized document is then typically emailed or otherwise delivered electronically to you. Then you are legally able to use it as your Will.

Is Remote Notarization Available in My State?

Remote notarization is subject to specific legal regulations and requirements that vary from state to state in the U.S. Some states have enacted laws allowing for remote notarization, while others have restrictions or limitations on its use. Since it is essential to ensure compliance with your state's laws and regulations when seeking remote notarization services, FastWill partners with OnlineNotaryCenter, which offers state-approved online notarization services that simplify your experience. 

Are Remote Notarization Services Safe and Secure?

The most important issue for anyone wanting to use remote notarization is whether the services are as secure as the traditional, in-person process. This is one of the reasons FastWill works with OnlineNotaryCenter, so that you can be certain that your personal information is secure and private. The process of notarizing documents via Zoom is safe. The data you send to the notary platform is typically encrypted. OnlineNotaryCenter provides an audit trail to track everything that happens during a video session. This includes information like who was present, what forms of ID were accepted, and timestamps. OnlineNotaryCenter does not provide your information to any third party. The company uses Secure Socket Layer (SSL) encryption for information you may send electronically.

What Do I Need for Remote Notarization Services?

1. To utilize a remote notarization service, you'll need a webcam and microphone. Although it's usually easiest to use your computer, you can also use a phone.

2. You should have at least one form of government ID ready to upload in addition to the documents you want notarized. When your identity is verified, you will meet with the notary.

3. If you are having a Will notarized, you will need the legal document and the witnesses who will join the video session. The witnesses can share the digital device with you, or they can join using their own webcams. Your witnesses will also need a form of government ID.

Write Your Digital Estate Plan Today

With FastWill, you can write a digital estate plan from start to finish without leaving the comfort of your home. To get started, simply choose your state and let our system guide you through the legal requirements applicable to your situation. When your estate plan is complete, you can electronically sign, notarize, store, and update your documents with ease.

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