Contest a Will Solicitors - What is a valid Will? Contesting Wills - How to Contest a Will

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What is a Valid Will?

What is a Valid Will?

For a Will to be valid it must first be in writing. The only exception to this rule is in the case of 'Privileged Wills' which only apply to active HM Forces personnel, merchant seaman and others in conditions similar to actual military service.

The Will must also be signed by the person making a Will they are known as the testator if they are male or the testatrix if they are female. Although it is normal practice for a Will to be signed at the end of the Will, the Will may also be valid if it is signed anywhere on the document.

The testator or testatrix's signature must also be witnessed by at least two independent witnesses. Both witnesses must be present when the Will is signed by the testator or testatrix.

The position of the witnesses’ signatures on the document is not important. However if the signatures are not on the same paper as the Will they must be on a paper physically connected with the official document.



For a Will to be valid the testator or testatrix must also have been capable of making the Will at the time that it was made.

To be classed as 'being capable' the person must have been at least 18 years of age, although there are certain exceptions to this rule.

The person making the Will must also have been of sound mind, memory and understanding. This means the person must have been aware and appreciate what they were doing when they made their Will.

If the deceased lacked the mental capacity, at the time of making their Will, then it may be possible to contest the Will on these grounds.



The testator or testatrix must also have clearly intended to dispose of their estate in the manner set out in the Will upon their death.


Force, Fraud and Undue Influence

If it can be proved that the testator or testatrix has been coerced, pressured or unduly influenced into making a Will, a court has the power to set aside the will. This may be in it's entirety or in part according to the circumstances. A Court also has the power to set aside the Will if the execution of the Will was done fraudulently. 



Revocation is when a Will is revoked. The revocation of a Will normally happens when the testator or testatrix gets married or enters into a civil partnership. A Will can also be revoked by the testator / testatrix by making a written declaration of his or her intention to revoke the Will.


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