You’ve made a Will, but when is a Will not Valid?
Anyone (of sound mind and over 18) can make a Will. Off-the-shelf or online kits are readily available, but it isn’t as easy as filling out the forms and ticking the boxes.
There are a number of factors that can invalidate a Will:
(note: a ‘testator’ is the person who makes the will)
- If the Will is not signed and dated by the testator in front of two witnesses, it is invalid.
- The original Will is required – a photocopy won’t do!
- If a Will has been altered, damaged or looks to have been tampered with, it may be declared invalid when sent to the Probate Registry.
- If the Will is not the last one made by the testator it will be declared invalid.
- If the testator was considered to be not ‘sound of mind’ when making the Will it may be invalidated or contested.
- A witness cannot also be a beneficiary (of gifts or residue) or a guardian. Essentially anyone who features in the will should not witness – this is a common mistake in ‘DIY’ Wills.
- Marriage invalidates any Will made prior to the wedding (but not the same for divorce!)
- Where an original Will has been lost, or executors cannot find where it has been stored, it’s the same as not having a Will.
An invalid Will is entirely avoidable and is likely to cause huge emotional stress for loved ones and the process of resolving matters can be lengthy…not to mention expensive.
Alternatively, it may be that the Will is valid, but it’s been written in such a way that the gifts, beneficiaries, etc are not what the testator would have wanted or expected, or omissions have been made. Getting proper legal advice on such an important matter is good value for money.
By investing just a couple of hundred pounds in a professional Will now, you can save heartache and money for your loved ones in the future!
To set up a no obligation chat with me to discuss setting up a Will please get in touch with Jenny Fothergill of APS Legal Beverley.