Making a valid Will

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Making a valid Will

To make a valid Will you must:

  • make the Will in writing
  • sign the Will in front of two or more witnesses.

It is also a good idea to date it at the time of signing.

At least two witnesses are required

You must sign your Will in front of two or more witnesses. The witnesses must also sign the Will when you are present.

You and the witnesses must sign the Will:

  • at the foot of each page, if there are multiple pages
  • using the same pen.

You must have the mental capacity

To make a valid Will you must also have testamentary capacity. This means that you are not suffering from a disorder of the mind or sane delusion.

The test for testamentary capacity is that you must know and understand:

  • what a Will is – the nature and the effect it has
  • approximately what you have to leave in a Will – you don’t need to know the exact value
  • any reasonable claims that may be made against your property, for example, a claim by someone who is financially dependent on you.

Avoiding a challenge by getting an affidavit

If there is something unusual about the signing of the Will, you can get an affidavit to prevent possible problems or challenges later.

For example, you could get a doctor to assess your capacity and sign an affidavit about your capacity at the time you made your Will.

An affidavit should state that you are of sound mind and you understood what you were doing when you signed the document. This may prevent a later challenge to the Will.

It’s a good idea to make sure the doctor is experienced in making these assessments. It is advisable for the doctor to witness the Will being signed.

Marriage and divorce

Marriage and divorce affect the validity of a Will. See Changing a Will.

Writing your own Will

The Law Handbook has an example of a simple model Will and information about the things you might like to put in a Will. It is a guide only. 

Also consider ...

When you are making your Will also consider making your powers of attorney and guardianship. These are legal documents that allow you to choose who will make decisions about things like your finances or medical treatment, if you are not able to make these decisions yourself.

Get help

Find out how you can get help with Wills and estates.

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