Many wills fail because the attestation wasn’t completed correctly – so how can you check it is valid?
Only the original Will (not a copy) dated and signed by the testator and signed by two witnesses is valid.
If a witness is also a beneficiary of the Will then they lose their legacy, but the rest of the Will remains in force. If the husband, wife or civil partner of a beneficiary acts as a witness then that particular beneficiary also loses their legacy.
A witness must be aged minimum 18 years and be of sound mind.
This might seem reasonably straight forward so why do so many people manage to get it wrong?
One common error with couples is that they somehow manage to mix their documents up and sign each other’s Wills!
Sometimes somebody fails to sign e.g. one of the witnesses; or the date may be omitted. It also somehow seems easy to forget that allowing your brother’s wife to witness will invalidate the gift to your brother.
Another very common problem occurs where people decide to cross out parts of their Will and add in revisions. It is possible to do this before (not after) the Will is signed and witnessed, but there is a particular way that this should be done.
Alterations made after the Will has been signed are not permitted.
Why not check your Will now and make sure that none of these problems apply to you?
If in doubt you may email us a scanned copy of the document (or post one to us) and we will confirm whether or not the attestation or any alterations are valid.