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The law sets out how Wills should be written and executed, i.e. signed and witnessed, in order for a Will to be valid.  Wills also need to be carefully drafted and written so that they properly reflect the wishes of the person making the Will and that there can be no doubt about the validity of the Will.
 
If a Will is not properly written and executed, this can result in the Will being challenged and declared invalid.  This could mean that instead of an estate being distributed according to the wishes of the person making the Will, the estate could be subject to the rules of Intestacy.  This means the estate will be treated as if the person making the Will had died without a Will and may not be distributed according to the deceased's wishes.
 
Challenges to a Will later can be very costly and cause additional distress to loved ones already trying to adjust to bereavement. 
 

There are three ways of challenging a Will:-

 
1.      On the grounds the person making the Will lacked capacity;
2.      On the grounds the person making the Will was under undue influence from another person such as a relative or carer;
3.      A claim under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975.
 

Claims under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975 are restricted to:

 
  • spouses or civil partners of the deceased;
  • someone who had lived with the deceased as if a spouse for at least two years;
  • a former spouse who did not have a clean break settlement and who has not remarried;
  • a child or anyone who was treated as a child of the family;
  • anyone being financially maintained by the deceased.
 

Some of the requirements for how a Will is executed include:-

 
  • The person making the Will must read and understand it;
  • Two witnesses must witness the signature of the person making the Will;
  • When the Will is ready to sign, it needs to be dated and signed by the person making the Will with their usual signature;
  • Witnesses do not need to read the Will;
  • Witnesses need only watch the person making the Will sign it;
  • When the person making the Will has signed in the presence of the witnesses, the witnesses must also sign and complete the required details.
 
Witnesses must be adults, i.e. over the age of 18.  Witnesses should not be related to the person making the Will, be mentioned in the Will or be married to such people.
 
Lawson-West recommend you sign your Will at our offices when you make a Will with us and we can provide valid witnesses so there is no requirement for you to find your own witnesses for your Will.
 
If you would like to make a Will, please call 01858 445480 now or complete one of the on-line forms. You can make an appointment at any of our branches in Market Harborough, Wigston or on the Meridian Business Park.  We can also arrange a home or hospital visit if you are unable to attend any of our offices due to your ill health, for a small additional fee.