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Choosing Witnesses for a South Carolina Will
Posted by ABC Legal Docs, LLC - Jerry Lucas of CO on 2/3/19 2:45pm Msg #602812
It appears that the customer is blaming the notary for not providing legal advice on the proper parties to use to witness her husband's will. The notary did not choose the witnesses. The testator brought the witnesses to the notary. There is no mention of any problem with the notarization of the document.

The customer chose to use an online will form rather than pay for an attorney to prepare the will and give legal advice. The online will probably had accompanying instructions. If not, the customer could have contacted the legal form publisher for instructions. It is not the notary's duty or authority to provide instructions or legal advice. (I noticed that LegalZoom provides correct instructions for SC witnesses on their website.)

The "news" story is poorly written, with missing information. The wife refers to the will as her will, but it is his will. It does not state that the husband (testator) and two witnesses went to the notary. It appears to be a newsvertising article to direct readers to a linked local estate planning firm rather than use do-it-yourself legal forms. Many people choose to use DIY legal forms.

According to South Carolina probate code 62-2-504, the signing of a will by an interested witness does not invalidate the will, but a gift to the interested witness, above the intestate gift value, is void, unless there are at least two disinterested witnesses to the will. Otherwise, the voided gift may still be passed to the interested witness according to state intestacy laws. There may be cases where the interested witness does not need or want to receive an inheritance from the will.

The customer and the notary could have avoided problems by reading one probate law regarding choosing suitable witnesses for a will.

The SC Notary law and manual prohibit Unauthorized Practice of Law (UPL), including choosing, preparing or helping a person understand a legal document, giving legal advice or answering legal questions.

I would require employee notary training and testing, and display a conspicuous notice on my website and at my notary location: "I AM NOT AN ATTORNEY LICENSED TO PRACTICE LAW IN THE STATE OF SOUTH CAROLINA, AND I MAY NOT GIVE LEGAL ADVICE OR ACCEPT FEES FOR LEGAL ADVICE."
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Messages in this Thread
 Mess-up by a UPS notary creates a major problem - JanetK_CA on 2/1/19 2:50pm
 Yep, that was a costly mistake. The UPS Franchise owners - grapebed on 2/1/19 3:03pm
 Re: Mess-up by a UPS notary creates a major problem -  janCA on 2/1/19 3:07pm
 Re: Mess-up by a UPS notary creates a major problem - Luckydog on 2/1/19 4:54pm
 Pretty much agree w/LD - Lee/AR on 2/1/19 6:32pm
 Re: Mess-up by a UPS notary creates a major problem -  John/CT on 2/1/19 6:44pm
 Re: Mess-up by a UPS notary creates a major problem - Luckydog on 2/1/19 7:28pm
 I think it's fairly common knowledge that UPS notaries -  MW/VA on 2/1/19 7:09pm
 Especially if a disinherited relative contests the will. n/m -  John/CT on 2/1/19 7:13pm
 Just Another UPS Notary Screw Up To Add To Their Pile -  PegiT_MN on 2/1/19 7:25pm
 Re: Just Another UPS Notary Screw Up To Add To Their Pile - Luckydog on 2/1/19 7:37pm
 Inevitably, UPS will get sued, just like FedEx... n/m -  Roger_OH on 2/1/19 9:24pm
 Re: Mess-up - Signerbill on 2/2/19 10:07am
 Another look - BearPaw/CO on 2/2/19 4:04pm
 Pay now or pay later - Carolyn Bodley on 2/2/19 6:37pm
 Every Notary Should Know The Notary Laws Of Their State -  PegiT_MN on 2/2/19 7:45pm
 Re: Mess-up by a UPS notary creates a major problem - Cheryl/SC on 2/2/19 11:37pm
 Cheryl,I often find myself in an identical situation wherein -  Christine/OK on 2/3/19 7:46am
 IMO why - Luckydog on 2/3/19 10:31am
 Re: Mess-up by a UPS notary creates a major problem -  JanetK_CA on 2/2/19 11:38pm
 Just to throw Florida law into this...(hehe) - Linda_H/FL on 2/3/19 7:47am
 Oh the irony! LOL n/m -  Christine/OK on 2/3/19 7:48am
 I, personally, disagree with this practice - Linda_H/FL on 2/3/19 8:06am
 Wow! - Luckydog on 2/3/19 10:33am
 It's really not our call LD - and now that we know the - Linda_H/FL on 2/3/19 12:01pm
 P.S. - in the situation I had recently (noted below) - Linda_H/FL on 2/3/19 12:02pm
 I don't blame notary or UPS - BobbiCT on 2/3/19 10:00am
 Re: I don - Luckydog on 2/3/19 10:38am
 I just ran into this situation.... - Linda_H/FL on 2/3/19 11:26am
 Re: Thank you Bobbi for saying it better than me - Carolyn Bodley on 2/3/19 11:18am
 Re: Thank you Bobbi for saying it better than me - jnew on 2/3/19 2:47pm
 Choosing Witnesses for a South Carolina Will - ABC Legal Docs, LLC - Jerry Lucas on 2/3/19 2:45pm
 Re: Choosing Witnesses for a South Carolina Will - Luckydog on 2/3/19 3:55pm
 “She expected her will to protect her after her husband died - Carolyn Bodley on 2/3/19 5:18pm
 Re: Mess-up by a UPS notary creates a major problem - Sue on 2/7/19 10:34am



 
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