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For a Will to be legally binding, the signature of the person making the Will must be witnessed by two independent people. Here you can find more information on the process, who to choose, and what’s involved.
If you have any questions about how to make sure a Will is witnessed properly, our team will be happy to help. Call us today on 0370 1500 100 – or fill out our online form and we’ll call you back.
The witness is there to confirm that the testator – the person who has written the Will – is the same person who is signing it. A Will is not valid unless it is signed by both the testator and two witnesses.
The testator must either sign in the presence of two witnesses or acknowledge to the witnesses that it is their signature on the Will. Each witness must then sign the Will themselves. They’ll also need to give their name, address, and occupation. However, they don’t have to read the Will or know what’s in it.
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The witnesses confirm that:
Having two independent witnesses who have no stake in the Will is important to ensure impartiality – people who stand to inherit from your Will are not allowed to be witnesses.
A Will can be rendered invalid on the grounds of ‘lack of due execution’ – this means the correct legal procedure has not been followed. Failing to have two independent witnesses would count as lack of due execution and the Will would be invalid.
The process is straightforward. The testator and the two witnesses need to sign and date the Will, and watch each other sign it. The witnesses should also provide their full name, address and occupation.
Write clearly and in ink, and don’t fasten anything to the Will, as this could make it invalid.
If you have any questions on the signing process our team is happy to help. Call us today on 0370 1500 100 – or fill out our online form and we’ll call you back.
A witness doesn’t have any ongoing legal responsibilities once they’ve signed the Will. The only time they might be called upon again is if there is a challenge to the validity of the Will after the testator has died.
If someone claims that the signature is forged, or that the testator was either pressured into signing or didn’t have the mental capacity to sign, the witness’ testimony could be vital. They may be asked to sign an affidavit to confirm the circumstances in which the Will was signed.
A witness must be an independent adult who isn’t related to the testator and has no personal interest in the Will. A neighbour or family friend is ideal.
Someone cannot be a witness if they are:
Executors can witness the Will, however.
If you’re confused about any aspect of the Will signing process, or not sure who to ask as a witness, our team is happy to help. Call us today on 0370 1500 100 – or fill out our online form and we’ll call you back.
You should refuse to witness a Will if:
This is not an exhaustive list, and if you’re uncomfortable in any way about the circumstances you should refuse.
No – if a beneficiary, or their spouse or civil partner, witnesses a Will, they forfeit their right to their share of the estate.
Yes, an executor can witness a Will – as long as they are not also a beneficiary.
No – a person might make a Will many years before it comes into effect, so it’s entirely possible that one, or both, of the witnesses die before the testator. This doesn’t invalidate it in any way.
If you have any questions about witnessing a Will our team will be happy to help. Call today on 0370 1500 100 or fill out our online form and we’ll call you back.
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