Notary's Signature to Will May Count as Witness Signature
Description Chancery court held that a will was proven by having two signatures. One of the signatures was by a notary public. Her signature was not just to attest to the signature of the other witness but also to act as a witness.
Topic Wills, Estates and Trusts
Key Words Witness Requirements; Notary
C A S E   S U M M A R Y
Facts Gerhardt died and left a will naming her daughter as executrix and sole residual legatee. The will was witnessed by Cutrera and by Moore, who signed as a notary public. Under New Jersey law, for a will to be proven it must be witnessed and "signed by at least two persons each of whom witnessed ... the signing." When the proceeding for probate of the will commenced, the question for the court was if a signature by a witness and a signature by a notary public would count as two signatures of witnesses, or if Moore, the notary, was only a witness to Cutrera's signature so there was only one signature, in which case the will could not be proven.
Decision This method of witnessing the will "substantially complied" with the statutory witness requirements, even though Moore signed in her capacity as a notary public. Her purpose was not just to witness the signature of Cutrera but to also witness the signature and intent of Gerhardt.
Citation In re Gerhardt, 763 A.2d 1289 (Super. Ct., Chancery Div., N.J., 2000)

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