For a Will to be valid:
- It must be in writing, typed and in any language
- It must be dated and signed by the Testator (person making the Will)
- As the Testator, you must be of sound mind, memory and understanding so
- demonstrating capacity and competency at the time the Will is made. As the Testator, you must also declare that the Will is your Last Will & Testament and that you revoke all previous Will’s (if there are any)
- You must appoint one or more Executors
- You must state how you want your assets to be distributed. You can either chose to name the item and the person to whom you are giving it to, or you can state that you wish a person to receive a certain percentage of the total value of your property.
- Your signature must be witnessed by two people – neither of which can have any interest in the Will’s provisions like a beneficiary or spouse of the Testator
- Both witnesses must sign the Will in your presence as the Testator and each other attesting that you was willing and competent at the time when the Will was made
- It must not have anything attached to it or have anything erased. If the Will looks like it has been changed or damaged in anyway then it may become invalid
What makes a Will automatically invalid?
There are various reasons why a will may be invalid, and this is problematic when someone decides to contest a Will. The main reasons for a Will to be invalid include:
- It is not in writing
- It is not signed by the Testator and / or the Witness(es) in the presence of one another
- The signature was not made with the intention of executing the Will
- It is not the most up to date Will
- The Will was changed without using a codicil (an additional legal document which details a minor change, alteration, or amendment to an existing will)
- The circumstances of the Testator changed since making the latest Will e.g., they were widowed, divorced, separated, had gotten married, they had children or grandchildren, or their finances had changed
- The Testator was coerced in to writing the Will
- The Testator was not of sound mind and did not have the mental capacity at the time that they signed the Will
This is general information only and does not constitute specific legal advice.