Writing a Will is an extremely important thing to do, as it gives you certainty over exactly what happens with your assets after you pass away. It’s also just as crucial that the Will you write is valid – otherwise your wishes will not be carried out.
What are the common mistakes that you must avoid in order to make a valid Will?
- Signing the Will
It is a requirement that you sign your Will and this has to be done in front of witnesses. You can even get someone to sign the Will on your behalf, so long as you are in the room and it’s signed at your direction. This applies for people who are blind, illiterate or who may be too unwell to sign the Will themselves. If the Will is signed on your behalf, then it must contain a clause clarifying that you understood the contents before you signed.
If you have a serious illness or have been diagnosed with dementia, then you need to have ‘testamentary capacity’ – essentially, the mental capacity to make a Will. For this you will need a medical practitioner’s statement at the time the Will is signed.
- Witnesses must be present
A Will also needs to be signed by two witnesses who need to be present when you sign the document.
They cannot sign the Will at a later date, or else the Will may be invalid.
- Witnesses cannot be beneficiaries
The witnesses cannot be beneficiaries of the Will – nor can their spouse or civil partner. If anything is left to the witnesses, they will lose entitlement to whatever you had planned to leave them.
The executor of the Will can be a witness, so long as they are not also a beneficiary.
Here at Finance North Estate Planning Services we have drafted many many Wills, and are very knowledgably on how to avoid the common pitfalls. If you’re interested in writing a Will or are looking to update your current one, speak to the team on 01782 963 303 or email help@FinanceNorthEPS.co.uk.