Validity of Wills—form of Will
Validity of Wills—form of Will

The following Wills & Probate guidance note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Validity of Wills—form of Will
  • Format of a Will
  • Formalities
  • Date
  • In writing
  • Signed by the testator
  • Signature
  • Signature on testator's behalf
  • Signature position
  • Attestation
  • more

Format of a Will

There is no set way in which a Will has to be drafted but convention over many years has supplied a tried-and-tested format. While styles may differ between those preparing Wills, the general order of clauses is fairly constant. This helps in reading the Will and avoids errors of omission, as well as providing a consistent method of using technological means to produce Wills.

Therefore, the usual order of clauses is:

  1. opening and revocation

  2. declarations (negating mutual Wills, confirming disposal wishes, etc)

  3. appointment of executors and trustees

  4. appointment of guardians

  5. general legacies

  6. specific legacies and devises

  7. residuary gifts

  8. powers of executors and trustees

  9. attestation

Clearly, not all of the clauses will be used all of the time, but as long as this basic schematic is used the draftsperson should be able to ensure that all that should be included is there.

Opening and revocation

The first sentence of the Will is used to identify the testator by name and address. All aliases of the testator should be included. However, this could cause difficulties if the only name the testator generally uses and is known by is supplemented by another name. Documents of title, marriage certificate and birth certificate may answer the necessity of whether to include other names. If further names are added, they should be prefaced with