What is a testator?

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What is a Testator?


Testator is the legal term for a person who makes a will. While the term rarely comes up in casual conversation, you’ll still find it used in will documents and in the law itself. 

For example, the signature clause of a will might state:

I, Jacqueline Smith, the testator, sign my name to this instrument…

You’ll also find the term testator in state statutes that deal with will making.  For example, California Probate Code 6110 uses testator several times:

6110.  (a) Except as provided in this part, a will shall be in writing and satisfy the requirements of this section.

(b) The will shall be signed by one of the following:

(1) By the testator.

(2) In the testator's name by some other person in the testator's presence and by the testator's direction.


In the past, the term testatrix was used to refer to female will makers, but these days, testator is used for both men and women.

To learn more about wills and estate planning, go to Wills, Trusts, and Probate.

To look up other legal terms, go to Nolo’s Plain-English Law Dictionary

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