What Makes a Will Valid and What Can Invalidate a Will?
Posted on 6th August 2021
If you are making a Will, you want to ensure that the final document is valid. Our team explain what makes a Will valid and what can invalidate a Will, below.
Many of the clients that approach our solicitors in Garstang and solicitors in Lancaster, to make a Will, have never made a Will before. Understandably, the process can seem overwhelming, and we are often asked how we ensure that our client’s Wills are valid, when it comes to them signing.
The solicitors in our Lancaster office discuss what makes a Will valid, and what can affect the validity of a Will, below.
What makes a Will valid?
Section 9 of the Wills Act 1837 sets out the formalities for due execution of a Will. In order for a Will to be valid, the Will must be in writing and signed by the person making the Will (known as the Testator) or, if the Testator is unable to sign, by someone else if their presence and at their direction. The signature of the Testator must show that they intended, by signing the document, to give effect to the Will.
In relation to witnesses, there must be two independent people, who are over the age of 18 and have mental capacity themselves. They must not be a named beneficiary in the Will, and they should not be a relative of the Testator or a relative’s spouse/partner. Both witnesses must be present when the Will is signed, then they must sign the Will, and would usually write their full name, address and occupation.
Following changes introduced during the COVID-19 pandemic, for Wills made on or after 31 January 2020 and on or before 31 January 2022, the witnesses being in the “presence” of the Testator when the Will is signed would include their presence by way of a videoconference or other visual transmission. This method of signing a Will is only recommended if it is strictly necessary (for example, if the person is isolating or in hospital and is physically unable to attend a face-to-face signing).
If you instruct our expert Wills solicitors in Preston or our solicitors in Lancaster to assist with drafting your Will, our team will be happy to accommodate you signing the final document either at one of our three offices (Lancaster, Longridge or Garstang) or, if you live locally to us, at your home. We can provide two members of staff to act as witnesses, so you do not need to arrange for witnesses yourself. To arrange an appointment to make a Will, contact our expert team at your local office, here, or email our team, here . You can find out about our fees for drafting a Will, here .
What can affect the validity of a Will?
There is usually a presumption that a Will which appears correctly executed is compliant, unless there is evidence to the contrary. For example, if a party could prove that someone forged the signature on the Will, this would render the Will invalid.
Other factors could include Wills that are not signed in the presence of witnesses in the correct manner. If you think that a Will may not be valid, you should seek expert legal advice. Our team can assist with an initial consultation to explain what steps you need to take and what the grounds are for challenging a Will. We would always advise you to seek the advice of Counsel before proceeding with a claim to have a Will declared invalid.
Re Ball Deceased  1 WLUK 544 :
On 17 th November 2015, Dorothy Ball executed a professionally-drafted Will, which left her estate to be divided as to 88% to her son and the remaining 12% to be divided equally between three of her grandchildren. Dorothy died in March 2018, following which her daughter produced a Will, which was home-made, dated 4 January 2017.
The Will was similar to her previous Will in that she divided her estate as to 12% to her grandchildren. However, the 88% was divided, under the terms of this Will, between her son and daughter equally.
After a series of litigation in the High Court, it was held that Dorothy’s signature on the 2017 Will was forged, and therefore the provisions of the 2015 Will were valid.
Does a local Solicitor need to draft my Will?
Every person is entitled to make their own Will from the comfort of their own home, if they so wish. However, the case of Re Ball Deceased highlights the importance of ensuring that any home-made Will has evidence to show that it is what you want, as the Testator.
Our expert team of local Wills solicitors would always suggest that ensuring your Will is drawn up by professionals could help to prevent any disputes in the future. Our team keep comprehensive notes of the discussions we have with clients when they are making a Will, so if any dispute arises in the future, we can attest to the circumstances surrounding the Testator making their Will and their signing of the Will.
We even offer home visits, by appointment, so if you want to make a Will from the comfort of your own home, our expert local solicitors are here to help. Contact our team online, here to discuss making a Will.
Can MG Legal, Solicitors near me, help?
At MG Legal, our expert team of local Wills and Probate Solicitors are here to help. We can help you to make a Will or review your current Will arrangements, if you are undecided about making any changes. Contact our team at your local office to arrange an appointment.
Our team provide confirmation of the fees payable at the very start of your matter, so that you know where you stand and what you will be charged for. Find out more about our fees, here.
How can I contact MG Legal?
Our team are available during office hours, Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm. For assistance outside of office hours, email firstname.lastname@example.org and a member of the team will get back to you as soon as possible.
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