Wills are very legal documents. As such, it is important that you, as a notary public, know your role in the notarization of a will, as well as what you can and cannot legally do in these situations.
To begin with, the preparing and drawing up of the will should be done by an attorney. As a notary, you are not authorized to give legal advice, so you should never be the person drafting the will.
Once the will is drafted, the signer will request you to notarize their signature. Here is where a lot of people get confused: Your notarization of a signature on a will is no different from a notarization performed on any other document. The only thing being validated is the signature, not the will. The will’s validity is based completely on legal circumstances and, thus, is best left to the attention of an attorney.
Important things to remember: As always, upholding your ethical integrity is of utmost importance. It is illegal to notarize a document that you stand to benefit from or have financial interest in. Similarly, if you are named anywhere in the will, you are prohibited from notarizing it. Finally, regardless of whether or not you have anything to gain from it, you cannot notarize a will for your spouse, parents, or children.