Validity of Wills—signature
Validity of Wills—signature

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

  • Validity of Wills—signature
  • Date of death
  • Validity and deaths on or after 1 January 1983
  • In writing
  • Signature
  • Intention to give effect to the Will
  • Signature by the testator made or acknowledged in the presence of witnesses
  • Witnesses
  • Attestation
  • Professional practice

Date of death

Section 9 of the Wills Act 1837 (WA 1837) set out uniform requirements for all Wills and provided that:

'No will shall be valid unless it shall be in writing and executed in the manner hereinafter mentioned; (that is to say), it shall be signed at the foot or end thereof by the testator or by some other person in his presence and by his direction; and such signature shall be made or acknowledged by the testator in the presence of two or more witnesses present at the same time, and such witnesses shall attest and shall subscribe the will in the presence of the testator, but no form of attestation shall be necessary.'

The requirements enacted by WA 1837, s 9 in 1837 have since been amended.

In 1852, the Wills Act Amendment Act was passed to remove doubt as to what was or was not, an acceptable place for the testator's signature on the Will. Before 1852, the courts had shown a tendency to interpret the words 'at the foot or end thereof' in WA 1837, s 9 in a very strict manner. The Wills Act Amendment Act, together with WA 1837, s 9 were repealed and an amended WA 1837, s 9 enacted by section 17 of the Administration of Justice Act 1982 (AJA 1982) (new