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Signing Your Will

Please read, and follow, these instructions very carefully. If you do not follow them, your will might be successfully challenged as having ben executed wrongly. If you have any questions at all, ask us.

It is always better to sign your will either in our office, or with somebody present who knows the rules. The process is not complicated, but history demonstrates that it is very easy to get it wrong, and with disastrous consequences. No special validity is created, just the comfort of knowing it has been done correctly. If you can get in to see us, fine. If you cannot then, for an additional fee, we can come out to see you, or arrange for you to see a solicitor local to you.

Next, and equally important, read all the will. Be sure you understand it, and that it says what you want. Make sure that all names and addresses are complete and spelled correctly.

If you have any doubts or questions, please ask. Do not make any alterations. If you think any change is needed, let us know, and we will send out a new form of will for you to sign.

Get together two witnesses. These should be people who are:-

  1. not mentioned in the will, including as executors, and
  2. should not take any benefit under the will, even if not directly named (for example grandchildren).
  3. Nor should they be husbands, or wives, or partners, of such people.
  4. They need not be independent of each other.

The witnesses do not need to read the will, but should be told that they are witnessing the signing of a will. All three of you should then stay together, in the same room, from the start and until the entire process is finished.

The will should first be dated on the front sheet and also in the clause on the last page which begins 'IN WITNESS of which ...'.

You, the person making the will, must sign first. Sign at the bottom of each page next to your name. On the last page, again where your name is shown, sign next to the clause beginning 'This Will ... etc. You need not sign this last page at the bottom.

In each case, sign your name as you would normally sign it, for example, on a cheque.

The two witnesses each sign their names, at the foot of each page, and in the spaces provided on the last page. Here, they should also write out their full names, addresses and occupations. There will then be three signatures on each page.

Do not, at any stage, put any pins through the will, or attach it with a paper clip to any letter. Please return the will to us. If you wish to keep the original, we will make and keep a copy. If we are to keep the will, we will provide a copy to you. Please tell us know which you want. Make sure that your executors know where your will is kept.

Remember also that people usually out-live their wills. If your circumstances or wishes change, and you need to alter or re-make the will, do come back to us. We may also write to you in future if the, as the law changes, it becomes sensible to reconsider the will.

These instructions apply only to wills signed in England, and made in accordance with the law of England.

Special instructions will also apply if you have any difficulty reading the will, or with signing your name.

If in any doubt at all, do please ring us.

Important: Please note that our law-bytes are retained for archival purposes only. The law changes, and these notes are often, now, out of date. You must take direct advice on your own personal situation and the law as it currently stands.
All information on this site is in general and summary form only. The content of any page on this site may be out of date and or incomplete, and you should not not rely directly upon it. Take direct professional legal advice which reflects your own particular situation.
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18 October 2013 http://www.swarb.co.uk/lawb/wilSign.shtml 55 18 October 2013