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What are the requirements of a valid Will?

View profile for Kevin Richardson
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A Will sets out the disposition of property on death and sets out the wishes and intentions of the person making it.  A Will comes into effect on death. 

However, to be valid and effective and to ensure that the wishes of the deceased are carried out the Will and any subsequent Codicil must comply with certain formalities.  Those formalities are set out in the Wills Act 1837 as amended by the Administration of Justice Act 1982.  The formal requirements are as follows:-

  1. The will must be in writing
  2. The will must be signed by the deceased or by some other person in his or her presence and by his or her direction.
  3. It must be clear that the testator intended by his or her signature to give effect to the Will
  4. The signature must be made or acknowledged in the presence of two witnesses present at the same time.
  5. The Witnesses must attest and sign the will or acknowledge his or her signature in the presence of the testator.

If these formalities are not complied with the Will, would be invalid. If no other Will has been prepared the deceased will have deemed to have died intestate. Alternatively, an earlier Will prepared by the deceased may be proven which may alter the intended distribution of the deceased estate.

If, as intended beneficiary, you may lose your inheritance because of an invalid Will then we may be able to help you. This will be either in respect of a claim for professional negligence against the person who drafted the Will (if drawn professionally) or a potential claim under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975.

For specialist advice please contact either Kevin Richardson at our Portsmouth office on 0800 413 463 or email For enquires on the Isle of wight contact John Hoey or call 0800 413 463.