What is a valid Will?

Do I have a valid Will?

It is great if you have a Will in place! However, many people think once they’ve got one, that’s it. But you should make sure that your Will is actually valid.

There’s a set of criteria that you need to meet to make sure that your Will is legal and will be adhered to after your passing. But firstly, what actually makes a Will valid and why is it important for it to be valid?

Why is it important to have a valid Will?

There are a number of reasons you should make sure your Will is valid. If it is deemed not to be after your death, then the wishes you set down in your will could be disregarded. A Will needs to have been executed accurately.

What makes a Will valid?

A number of factors will determine if your will has been created properly and therefore legal and valid. They include:

  • Executed Correctly

One of the biggest problems with doing a homemade Will is that quite frequently they are not written correctly and therefore not valid. The will needs to be signed and witnessed correctly to ensure it is valid.

  • Up to date

Your will should be updated regularly to reflect your life at that moment in time. This is important to make sure any children or spouse are included in your Will. This is also important if a beneficiary or an executor dies before you do.

If you have divorced, separated or ended a civil partnership since the writing of your Will, you are strongly encouraged to update your Will to reflect your current wishes.

  • You had capacity at time of writing your will

You have to have full mental capacity at the time of writing your will. If you lack capacity at the time of making the will, to the point where you are unable to make important decisions for yourself, you would not be able to create a will.  However, an application may be made on your behalf to the Court of Protection for a Statutory Will to be put in place.

  • You wrote it of your own free will

If you were pressured or coerced into writing or changing your Will, then a Court may set the Will aside, as a whole or in part, as invalid. You should write your Will according to your own wishes and only those you wish should be listed as beneficiaries.

Extra things to know

It’s important to keep your Will somewhere safe and where it can easily be found. This will help your family, because if it can’t be found it may be presumed that you destroyed it, which could mean your wishes will be ignored. This would mean your estate would be divided up according to the Laws of Intestacy.

For more information on Wills, please visit our pages on wills here.

Or speak to one of our specialist legal team on 0800 614 722.