Will Terms

Below are some of the most common Will Terms for your consideration. It is important to understand, but not memorize, these terms so you are familiar with the basics. Do not try and explain the document in full as you do not want to be practicing law. But knowing what the terms are can help you when you notarize documents as it increases confidence in your service.

Here you go:

* administrator - person(s) or company appointed or who petitions to the court to administer an estate in an intestate succession.

* beneficiary - a person or entity receiving a gift or benefiting from a trust.

* bequest - gift of personal property under, traditionally other than money.

* codicil - (1) amendment; (2) a will that modifies or partially revokes an existing or earlier document.

* decedent - the deceased.

* demonstrative legacy - a gift of a specific sum of money with a direction that is to be paid out of a particular fund.

* devise - testamentary gift of real property (land).

* devisee - beneficiary of real property (land).

* distribution - the giving of property.

* executor (female- executrix) or personal representative - person named to administer the estate, generally subject to the supervision of the probate court, in accordance with the testator's. In most cases, the testator nominates an executor/PR unless that person is unable or unwilling to serve.

* inheritor - a beneficiary.

* intestate - person who dies without a will. The state's "intestate" statutes determine who inherits property.

* legacy - testamentary gift of personal property, traditionally of money.

* legatee - beneficiary of legacy (personal property).

* probate - legal process of settling the estate of a deceased person.

* specific legacy (or specific bequest) - a testamentary gift of a precisely identifiable object.

* testate - person who dies having created a will before death.

* testator - (female- Testatrix) person who executes or signs a will. The signer.


There are several requirements that must meet to be valid. These vary from state to state, but in general they must have the following to be valid.

Again, you should not be advising clients on these requirements as you do not want to practice law. But knowing these requirements can set you apart as a Notary Superstar.

* TYPED You should ensure that it is typed or printed via a computer. This is a legal document and needs to be clear and legible to people following your death.

* FULL NAME The person making the document (known as the testator) should be clearly identified in the document by full name.

* REVOKE If the testator has previously made any wills that are to be superseded by this one, this must be clearly stated.

* 18 YEARS The testator must be a minimum of eighteen years of age. The testator must also be of sound mind and body at the time it is made.

* SIGNATURE The testator must sign the document, and this signature must be witnessed by two or three witnesses, who must also sign the document. The witnesses should not be beneficiaries.


Revocation has been the subject of much litigation in all states. So it is wise to stay away from this subject. However, in general, it can be revoked in these ways.

PHYSICAL DESTRUCTION Destroy the document by tearing or burning. All copies should be destroyed as well.

STRIKE OUT THE SIGNATURE More dangerous as it is open to litigation.

NEW A new document may revoke all previous ones. Must be clearly stated.

As a Notary, stick to these basics. Avoid trying to explain this subject. There are too many variables.

Here is a sample for your review. It is very basic but it gives you some idea of what you may be notarizing. Notice the places for witness signatures. DO NOT USE THIS WILL for any other purpose other than review. Please see an attorney or on-line service if you are interested in Estate Planning. A sample Will is provided for you here.