Can A Will Be Disputed If It Was Not Signed Correctly?
Posted on 10th July 2020
Following our Wills, Trusts, Tax and Probate Solicitors’ article earlier this week about the legality of Wills signed over video-link, our local solicitors for Wills discuss the changes that all Wills Solicitors across the country can expect to see over the coming years.
You may be wondering what our team of Wills Solicitors in Preston are talking about: if you have kept up with our previous articles, you may already be aware that the Wills Act, governing the making and legal aspects of a Will, was first created in 1837, so it contains long-standing laws that are not often subject to change.
However, the changes that all Wills, Trusts, Tax and Probate Solicitors are expecting to see do not relate necessarily to changes in the law, rather they relate to the number of contested Wills and Probate claims arising as a result of the issues surrounding video-link and homemade DIY Wills during the current world-wide pandemic.
How Does a Will Need to be signed?
Under Section 9 of the Wills Act 1837, a Will is required to be signed by the person making the Will, in the physical presence of two – or more – witnesses. Currently, it cannot be done via video-link, although you can read about the expected changes to the law relating to this in our local solicitors for Wills’ blog, here. Find about more about exactly how a Will must be signed, and who can act as your witnesses, here.
What issues could we face in the future?
Well, due to the likely increase in the number of DIY Wills made during COVID-19, and the simple fact that many people are not aware of how to correctly sign or draft a Will (which is to be expected, if you are not an expert in Will drafting), our team of Probate experts would expect to receive an increased number of enquiries about invalid Wills and making a claim against an Estate over the coming years.
Our Lorraine Gill comments that many people who are drafting their Will without the assistance of an expert Will drafter would not realise that the two witnesses need to be physically present when they actually sign their own Will. If a Will is ever called into question, the witnesses may be called upon to confirm that they were present when the Will was signed by the Testator (the person making the Will). If they were not, it could be that the Will is held to be invalid.
What happens if a Will is declared to be invalid?
If the Court held that a Will was invalid, it would mean that the person dies ‘intestate’ as if they do not have a valid Will. This will mean that their Estate would pass under the Rules of Intestacy. You can read more about the Rules in our Probate Solicitors in Preston’s blog, here.
Quite often, people will make provisions in their Will for a person who would not ordinarily benefit under the Rules of Intestacy. This could be a simple gift of a personal possession, a gift of money or a share of their whole Estate; if the person dies ‘intestate’ due to their Will being invalid, this gift would not take effect.
How can I prevent my Will from being declared void?
The best way to prevent any issues with your Will in the future is to seek expert advice and assistance with drafting your Will. This is where our expert Will Solicitors in Preston can step in and help.
We offer expert Will drafting for a fixed fee of £110.00 plus VAT for a single Will and £195.00 plus VAT for mirror Wills.
To instruct our expert team of Wills, Trusts, Tax and Probate Solicitors in Preston, contact the team online, here, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you are closer to our Lancaster office, you can contact our team of Will Solicitors in Lancaster online, here, or by popping into the office.
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