The UK’s Trusted Probate Specialists
The starting point is the Law. The rules relating to the formal requirements of wills are contained in the Wills Act 1837, this states that for a will to be valid it must :-
- It must be writing and signed by the Testator ( the person making the will ) or by someone in his presence or by direction
- It Appears that the testator intended by his signature to give effect to the will and
- The signature is made or acknowledged by the testator in the presence of two or more witnesses present at the same time and each witness either attests and signs the will or acknowledges his signature in the presence of any other witness
Given the current restrictive measures, especially for those in isolation at home or in hospital, its very difficult for anyone currently to make a will. Whilst there is talk of the Ministry of Justice reviewing matters, there is a fine line between the rules being relaxed, and the potential issues that may arise, through fraud or wills being invalid.
Sadly, as a firm specailising in will disputes we regularly handle a variety of problems, from wills not been signed correctly, witnesses not been present when the will was signed, wills that are unclear, the original of a will being lost, and wills being altered incorrectly. To change the existing rules for wills must contain some safeguards.
As far as the witnesses to a will, the rules state that :-
- there must be two witnesses present at the same time as the signing of the will
- the witness must not be the spouse of the testator or a
- beneficiary of a will
As long as an executor is not a beneficiary there is no rule preventing an executor witnessing a will.
Do you need help with a will, or an issue arising from a will, if so please call Tim Murden on 01482 429985 or mail at firstname.lastname@example.org