If you are planning to write a will in either England or Wales, it will need to be signed in the presence of two independent witnesses. If it isn’t, the will be deemed legally invalid, and it could be challenged once you have passed away.
There are, however, various rules you will need to adhere to during the signing. To ensure you don’t invalidate a will, read on to learn who can be a witness when executing a will.
Who Should be a Witness During a Signing?
You might be surprised to learn that the laws regarding witnesses are rather relaxed. However, witnesses should be chosen to prove a will has been effectively executed; otherwise, it could make it easier for others to contest a will. For this reason, you should choose witnesses who are:
- Over the age of 18
- Not beneficiaries or an executor
For example, you could ask a friend, neighbour or colleague to sign a will, if you do not plan to include them as a beneficiary. It is also possible to ask a GP to be a witness, especially if you are an elder, are suffering from an illness or are taking medication. By doing so, this could prevent others from stating you were not sound of mind when signing the document and could provide fewer grounds for contesting a will.
Also, it is beneficial to choose a witness who is your age or younger, which will ensure they are alive should you pass away, so they can state they watched the signing of a will.
It is also important to note that a witness does not need to read your will, but they will need to witness its signing.
Who Shouldn’t be a Witness
A witness should be chosen to provide evidence that a will was successfully executed, which can prevent others from turning to will dispute solicitors to challenge its validity after your death.
For this reason, you should avoid asking the following people to be a witness:
- An executor
- A beneficiary
- A partner by marriage or civil partnership
- A blood relative
The Will Signing Process
Once your will is complete, you must fill in the following information in the presence of two witnesses:
- Date the will
- Sign your name using your signature where indicated
- Ask the witnesses to add their signatures where indicated
- Print their names, occupations, and addresses
Once the last will and testament has been signed by both the testator and their two witnesses, no alterations should be made to the document.
When to Review a Will
While a document shouldn’t be amended once the last will and testament has been signed, it is possible to review and amend it at a later date. For example, consider reviewing your will if your partner passes away, you add to your family, or if you get married or divorced.
If, however, you question the validity of a loved one’s will, it is important to act as soon as possible to prevent the executor from receiving a grant of probate. To do so, contact The Inheritance Experts today to talk to one of our experienced will dispute solicitors.