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Published On: June 4, 2020 | Blog | 0 comments

My mother died after making a handwritten will during lockdown, how do I know the will is valid?

Making a will is something people often put off for the simple reason that people don’t like thinking about their death.  The current pandemic is likely to have reminded some people to deal with this.  But because of the lockdown, they may not have been able to seek professional advice from a solicitor or will writer.  In that case, they may have prepared their own will using a template they got online, or simply by writing a letter setting out how they want their estate to be dealt with.  But will that be enough to qualify as a valid will?

The primary things to look for in a home-made will are that it:

  1. Revokes all previous wills;
  2. Appoints an executor (ideally 2);
  3. Clearly sets out how the estate should be distributed;
  4. Is signed by the person making the will; and
  5. Has been signed by two witnesses.

This may seem simple, but there are strict requirements relating to the signing and witnessing of a will which may have been tricky to comply with during lockdown.  For example, the witnesses should not be related to the person who made the will (“the Testator”).  The witnesses should not be beneficiaries (or related to the beneficiaries) of the will. The witnesses also need to physically see the Testator sign the will in their presence.

If you are concerned that a family member’s home-made will does not comply with the legal requirements, we can help you determine that.  If it is not valid, there are legal routes you can take to persuade the Probate Registry that it should be considered valid.

Or, if it is valid but there has been a mistake or it is not an accurate reflection of what the Testator wanted, we can help you explore other options to make sure that the estate is distributed the way the Testator meant.

*Disclaimer: The information on the Anthony Gold website is for general information only and reflects the position at the date of publication. It does not constitute legal advice and should not be treated as such. It is provided without any representations or warranties, express or implied.*

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