The authentic will provides the testator with a maximum legal guarantee.

How to proceed

To draft an authentic will, the testator dictates their wishes to a notary in the presence of two witnesses or two notaries.

The will is then read out by the notary and signed by the testator, when they are able, the witnesses and the notary.
It is safeguarded by the notary who deposits it in the file of the provisions of the last wishes.

In this way, at the time of death, the notary in charge of the estate safeguards the file and is aware of the existence of the will.

Who can be a witness ?

Anyone except the close relatives of the testator, legatees, clerks and the notary.
These may be foreign nationals who understand French.

In which cases is the authentic will obligatory ?

  • When the testator does not know how to write, or if they are no longer physically able to do so (elderly or disabled, for example);
  • When the testator wishes to deprive their surviving spouse of their life interest in the dwelling.

Benefits of the authentic form

  • Thanks to the deposit in the file of the provisions of the last wishes, at the time of the death, the notary in charge of the estate consults the file and knows of the existence of a will.
  • The advice of the notary helps avoid any drafting of illicit clauses that will not be able to be applied at the opening of the succession.


With this will, there is no absolute secrecy.

Worth knowing:

The authentic form is required when someone wants to deprive an heir of a part of their rights or when they want, through a will, to recognise a natural child whose existence they had wished to keep concealed.


Reference text

Article 967 et seq. of the French Civil Code