Making a Will
Produced in partnership with Keith Bruce-Smith and Katie Walsh of Sinclair Gibson LLP
Making a Will

The following Wills & Probate practice note Produced in partnership with Keith Bruce-Smith and Katie Walsh of Sinclair Gibson LLP provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Making a Will
  • Who can make a Will?
  • Mental capacity
  • What if capacity is later lost?
  • Formal validity
  • Taking instructions
  • Who can prepare a Will?
  • Matters that the client should consider when giving instructions:
  • Execution
  • Rectification
  • More...

CORONAVIRUS (COVID-19): The formal requirement for a valid Will to be witnessed in the presence of two witnesses is to be relaxed (with retrospective effect) to include both physical and virtual presence, to allow Wills to be validly witnessed by way of video conference. For the latest guidance on this temporary change, see Practice Note: Coronavirus (COVID-19)—Wills.

When someone dies, it must be established whether they made a Will and whether that Will is valid. If the deceased did not leave a valid Will, they are intestate and the estate will be administered in accordance with the intestacy provisions found in Part IV of the Administration of Estates Act 1925 (AEA 1925).

Dying intestate can lead to various complications including issues over the guardianship of minor children and assets being distributed in a way other than as the deceased would have wished.

Who can make a Will?

A testator must be over the age of 18 at the date of execution of the Will and possess the requisite mental capacity.

The only exception to this is where the testator has privileged status—ie they are a soldier in military service or seaman at sea. In such a case, a Will made by a minor would be valid.

On 13 July 2017, the Law Commission launched a consultation on the potential reforms to the law of Wills in England and Wales, and

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