Strictly speaking for a Will to be legally binding it needs to be written, signed and witnessed. However, there are a wide range of complex and legal requirements which need to be met to ensure the Will is valid and can be read as intended.
Recently in New Zealand, a Will which was scribbled on the back of a postcard has been found valid by the High Court. The Will was drafted days before the testator died.
The Will was signed and dated and included notes on how the deceased wanted her estate to be distributed. The court declared that it was satisfied the signed and dated documents revealed the deceased’s intentions about her estate.
Whilst there have been other cases where Wills scribbled on back of beer mats and other similar seemingly valid Wills it is still recommended to have a Will drawn up correctly by a solicitor or other legal professional to ensure that your instructions and wishes are noted.
In the majority of cases for a Will to be valid there are requirements that need to be met:
- The testator must have been capable of making a valid Will at the time when the Will was made. They must be over 18 and of a sound mind, memory and understanding.
- The testator must clearly intend for the property to be distributed as set out in the Will after their death.
- A Will will not be valid if the testator is under and influence or coercion from anyone else.
- Aside from a few exceptions a Will must be written. It also needs to be signed by the testator in the presence of 2 witnesses present at the same time who must also sign.
- Any alterations made after the Will has been signed and executed will not be valid unless they have also been executed correctly
- A Will is revoked by marriage, divorce, by making a later Will and intentionally destroying the Will.
- Once the Will is revoked it is no longer valid.
While homemade handwritten Wills can meet the above requirements and be ‘valid’ Wills, often the people writing them won’t have thought through what happens if their family circumstances are not how they imagine them to be at the time of their death. For example, if they wish to leave their whole estate to their partner, what do they want to happen to it if their partner has died before them?
Inheritance Tax potentially affects any Estates valued over £325,000 at a person’s date of death (although there are further allowances). A professional will be able to advise you whether your estate is likely to incur an Inheritance Tax liability and whether there is any financial planning you can do to maximise the allowances available to you.
Wheelers Solicitors can fully support you in all stages of creating a Will. We will take the time to fully explain the process to you. If you would like to arrange an appointment to discuss making a Will, please phone the office on (01983) 533938 or contact us here.
Recent research carried out for the Royal London Mutual Insurance Society has revealed that 5.4 million adults admit to having no idea where to begin when it comes to writing a Will. (Today’s Wills and Probate).
Did you know that over half the population have not made a Will?
“Do I need a Will?” is a question a lot of people ask themselves and many people are put off making a Will because they do not fully understand the process or feel that a Will is unnecessary for their circumstances.
The most traditional and popular route of having a Will drawn up is instructing a solicitor or other legal professional. Using a solicitor or other legal professional will ensure that the Will is drafted and signed correctly and that your wishes are carried out when it comes to who inherits what.
Mona Patel, a consumer spokesperson for Royal London, said: “It is incredibly important to have a Will, not just to protect your finances but to make sure vital decisions, such as who will look after your children, are noted. Once you have a will, you should update it after any significant life events that could affect your financial situation, such as getting married, divorced or starting a family. Taking these important steps allows you to have peace of mind knowing that when you’re gone your wishes will be met.”
Click here to find out our top 10 reasons why you should make a Will.
Wheelers Solicitors can fully support you in all stages of creating a Will and take the time to fully explain the process to you. If you would like to arrange an appointment to discuss making a Will, please phone the office on (01983) 533938 or contact us here.
The results are in!
After receiving nominations from clients and professional bodies alike, Wheelers Solicitors are proud to announce that the beneficiaries of our £100 Christmas Gift are…
- Earl Mountbatten Hospice: The Isle of Wight’s first and only hospice.
- Isle of Wight Pony Club: Introduces children and young people to the sport of horse riding.
- The Wight Brainy Bunch: Provides support and financial assistance to those affected by brain tumors.
Each of the winning charities will receive their £100 gift just in time for Christmas (although we can’t guarantee that it will be delivered by Father Christmas himself).
We would like to thank everybody who took the time to vote for these fantastic charities; we hope that our gifts will enable them to continue their selfless work.
Thank you and from all of us here at Wheelers Solicitors we wish you a very Merry Christmas.