Probate, trust, guardianship and inheritance litigation
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How Do You Make a Valid Will In Kentucky?

To make a valid will in Kentucky, the will must be:

  1. In writing;
  2. Signed by the testator;
  3. Witnessed by two witnesses.


The requirements to make a valid will under Kentucky law are found at KRS 394.040.

Who Can Make a Valid Will Under Kentucky Law?

Any person of sound mind and eighteen (18) years of age or over may make a valid will in Kentucky.  KRS 394.020.

To be of sound mind to make a valid will, a testator must:

  1. Know the natural objects of his bounty;
  2. Know his obligations to them;
  3. Know the character and value of his estate; and
  4. Dispose of his estate according to his own fixed purpose.

A Valid Kentucky Will Must Be Signed By the Testator

No will is valid in Kentucky unless the testator signs this name to the will by himself, or by some other person in his presence and by his direction.  This means that a will can be valid in Kentucky if someone else signs the testator’s name for him or her, but only if the signature is made in the presence of the testator and at the direction of the testator.

A Kentucky Will Must Be Witnessed

To be valid, a Kentucky will must be witnesses by two credible witnesses.  The witnesses must see the testator sign the will, or the testator must acknowledge the will, and the witnesses must sign the will in the presence of the testator and in the presence of each other.

The exception to this rule is if the will is written entirely in the testator’s handwriting.  A will wholly written by the testator does not need to be witnessed.

Does a Kentucky Will Have To Be Notarized?

No, there is no requirement under Kentucky law that a will must be notarized.

Kentucky does allow a testator to make a will self proving.  A will is made self-proving at the time it is executed by the testator and witnesses signing an attestation clause in the presence of a notary.  Section 394.225 of the Kentucky statutes contains a form that should be substantially followed in order to make a will self-proving.

The best way to make sure that you have executed a valid will in compliance with Kentucky law is to work with a Kentucky probate lawyer.


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