How to Ensure Your Will is Valid

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There are a number of reasons to write a will, and also ensure that will is valid. This legally binding document will help you to determine what happens to your estate should you pass away. In turn, you can effectively pass on your property, money, and personal possessions to your loved ones or a charity.

Moreover, a valid will ensures you do not pay far more inheritance tax monies than necessary.

However, to legally execute a will, you must adhere to a number of strict rules stated in Section 9 of the Wills Act 1837. Read our legal advice below on how to ensure your will is valid.

How to Write a Valid Will

A failure to write a valid document could potentially provide people with grounds for challenging a will. To avoid inheritance disputes and ensure a will is legally valid, the testator must:

  • Firstly, be 18 years of age or over.
  • Second, the testator has to be of sound mind.
    • There are many different terms for this, including the testator’s “testamentary capacity” at the time, or;
    • Alternatively, the testator “has sufficient mental capacity.”
  • Third, have voluntarily wrote the will.
  • Fourth, do so in the presence of two witnesses over 18 years old.
  • Finally, two witnesses must co-sign the will in their presence.

A Will is Valid When It Is In Writing

To deem a will legally valid, it must be handwritten in either pencil or ink. Additionally, it can be typewritten into electronic format, so long as it adheres to the above rules.

If you choose to handwrite a will, write it with ink to ensure it avoids amending or contesting. Otherwise, a challenger might state a testator wasn’t certain about a section of a will, so wrote it in pencil.

Consequently, ensure the family won’t struggle with inheritance disputes following your death by writing the document in ink.

The Signing of a Will

It is imperative that two witnesses watch a testator sign a will. If one or both witnesses do not watch the signing, the will isn’t legally valid, and it could provide others with grounds for challenging a will. For this reason, the witnesses must know their role is to watch you sign the document to ensure its validity.

Also, it’s clear that they do not need to know your wishes within the document. Yet, as they witness you doing it, they must be aware that they are watching the signing of your will. Furthermore, they need to declare their presence by both signing their signature.

Additionally, a testator must be witness to that action.

Who Can Be a Witness?

When it comes to signing and witnessing, there are currently no rules regarding who can be a witness for the signing of a will. However, the person you choose must be aged 18 or over and cannot be blind. They also do not need to be a professional or possess any qualifications.

However, to prevent inheritance disputes from arising, avoid choosing a beneficiary, executor or blood relation to be a witness. Good examples of independent witnesses include a neighbour, colleague, or GP.

If, however, you believe you have grounds for challenging a will, contact The Inheritance Experts today.

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