Making a Will is a very important thing to do to ensure that your family is protected if you die, but even if you do make a Will, you need to ensure that your will fulfills all of the requirements needed to make it legally binding.
In order for a Will to be valid, it must be made by someone is of sound mind and who knows what is contained within the Will. It must be signed and witnessed too and the person making it must not be being forced into making it.
If your loved one’s Will doesn’t meet these conditions, it may not be valid and the consequences of this can be very serious. The person who died will be classed as dying intestate, which means dying without a will, and a court will decide who inherits the estate. None of their wishes will be taken into account and it could mean that family and friends are left without the inheritance which was meant for them.
How Do I Avoid Problems With My Loved One’s Will?
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To avoid this happening to your family, you will need to make sure that your loved one’s Will is actually valid in the eyes of the law and you can do this very easily by speaking to a solicitor who specialises in Wills and Probate law. They will look for the following points when they check the document:
- Was there a lack of capacity by the person making the Will? – this may be a permanent lack of capacity, due to an illness or perhaps just a temporary loss due to alcohol or drugs.
- Was the testator under pressure to sign the Will? – a Will cannot be valid if someone has been put under pressure to sign or make changes to it.
- Has the document been correctly signed and witnessed? – the person making the will must sign the document and their signature must be witnessed by two people. The witnesses cannot be family members, nor should they witness a Will if they are going to inherit anything from it either as this will make it invalid.
- Are there any mistakes in the Will? – if you made a DIY Will, or if a solicitor drafted it for you and they were negligent and made mistakes this can mean that the Will is not valid.
If you have any concerns about a loved one’s Will and its validity, you should speak to a specialist solicitor straight away. Often problems are not discovered until it is too late.
For more information about this article or any aspect of our Wills, Probate & Trusts services (including Care home fees recovery and powers of attorney), please call us on 0800 142 2775 or reply to this email and we will be delighted to help you (there is no charge for initial telephone discussions).