Witnesses to a will

A valid will must be signed by the testator/testatrix (person making the will) in the presence of two witnesses.

In order to be valid the will must be signed by the testator/testatrix (person making the will) in the presence of two witnesses. The witnesses must be aged 18 or over and they should sign the will after the testator has signed it.

A beneficiary under a will can not also act as a witness as this would have the effect of invalidating the gift. This means that nothing can be left to witnesses (or their married partners) in the will.

If the will has not been properly witnessed this means that it will be of no effect and cannot operate as intended.  The person making the will risks dying intestate if they do not make a new, valid will correctly witnessed. 

If any changes are made to the will the same procedure regarding signing and witnessing should be followed.

This is a vitally important point and must be made clear to the person concerned.  The effect of dying intestate (no valid will) is that the estate will be distributed according to the rules on intestacy and this may not be what the person making the will wanted to achieve.  The Administration of Estate Act 1925 sets out who gets what in every situation where there is no valid will.

 

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