Tuesday 28th April, 2020
What are the requirements for writing a Will?
It has been reported that in the last two months there has been a surge in demand for will writing. Making a will is one of the most important ways that you can plan for the future to ensure that your final wishes are respected. In England and Wales you are able to have complete freedom to leave money and property to whomever you may choose. But in order to for your wishes to be followed your will must adhere to some strict legal requirements.
What are the requirements for a valid Will?
When making your Will, it is important to note that it is a legal document which must be executed in a specific way to be valid:
- Your will must be signed by the testator (you) and also in the presence of two witnesses
- It must be in writing
- The two witnesses must sign the Will in the presence of the testator
Within the Will, witnesses and their married partners should not be named as beneficiaries. It is important to note that if a named beneficiary is also a witness or the witnesses and their married partners should not be named in the Will as beneficiaries. If a named beneficiary is also a witness or the married partner of a witness it does not invalidate the will, but they are unable to inherit.
The testator must also be over 18 years old.
But what happens if a Will is invalid?
If the testator has not set out the steps to ensure their Will is valid. Then the estate will either be distributed according to the testator's last valid Will, or according to the Rules of Intestacy if there is no previous Will.
Under the Rules of Intestacy, the testator's spouse or civil partner will inherit the entirety of the estate, unless they had children (including adopted children), in which case, the spouse/civil partner will inherit the first £250,000 of the estate, all the testator's personal belongings, and half of the remaining estate. The other half of the remainder will be divided equally between the children.
Unmarried partners unfortunately cannot inherit under the Rules of Intestacy.
It is important when considering writing a Will that you seek expert Will writing advice.