A Will is a vital part of estate planning. Your Will is the document that lets your loved ones know your last wishes.
The Purpose of a Witness
The purpose of a witness to a person’s Will is to ensure:
- That the person’s Will is not forged. They do this by both seeing the person sign their Will in their presence.
- That the loved one was not forced to sign a Will.
How Someone Witnesses a Will
Witnessing a Will is a simple process. The person making the Will and the witnesses must be present at the same time to sign a Will. They must also write their full name, address, and occupation in case they need to be contacted in the future. Solicitors near the person’s home can be contacted to find out whether they drafted the Will. This can help in locating a witness if the Probate Registry require proof that they were present when the Will was signed.
The responsibilities of a Witness
After signing the Will, a witness’ assistance may be required if the validity of the Will is questioned after a person has passed away.
A witness may be called on if there are claims that someone forged the signature. The courts may ask the witness to sign an affidavit confirming the circumstances in which the Will was signed.
Who Can You Choose as a Witness?
Anyone over 18 can witness a Will as long as they don’t have a gift in the Will. Elizabeth Middleton Solicitors advise that you choose someone competent, trustworthy, and mentally capable. You can choose from:
- Friends, neighbours, coworkers
- Relatives who aren’t included in your Will
- A medical provider
- A solicitor can not only help you write your Will. They can also act as a witness together with another person. Elizabeth Middleton Solicitors will draft your Will and ensure that it witnessed correctly whether you sign it in the office or off the premises.
- An Executor can act as a witness as long as they are not listed as a beneficiary
Certain people cannot witness your Will. Some of these people include:
- Your spouse or civil partner if they are a beneficiary in your Will.
- Someone who is blind, as they must be able to see you sign your Will
When a Medical Practitioner Should Witness Your Will
In England and Wales, it is recommended that the elderly or anyone very ill request a Medical Provider to witness their Will. If you have a terminal illness or are mentally ill, your Executors might have to show that you had capacity to sign your Will. A Medical Practitioner can help prove that you knew that you were making your Will.
What if one of my witnesses has died or is unable to serve as a witness?
Elizabeth Middleton Solicitors advise that you have a new Will drafted any of your witnesses dies. This is important because there might not be anyone to prove that you signed your Will if your witnesses pass away. This would be the case if a couple witnessed your Will and they were involved in the same accident.
Let Elizabeth Middleton Solicitors Ensure Your Will is Valid
Ensuring that your Will is valid is essential to prevent your family from having to deal with situations such as ‘if your Will is challenged’. Having an experienced solicitor on hand to ensure that your Will is properly written and all legal requirements are met can give you peace of mind knowing that your final wishes will be carried out.
At Elizabeth Middleton Solicitors, we know the importance of planning for the future to protect your family. Elizabeth Middleton is a qualified solicitor with over ten years of experience in Wills, Probate, and Equity Release. When you work with our team we provide you with holistic advice and ensure that you have the correct up to date tax and estate planning advice. We also ensure that your Will reflects your family dynamics.
Contact us today so that we can help you.