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For a will to be valid:
The beginning of the will should say that this will revokes all others. If you have an earlier will, it should be destroyed.
You must sign a will in front of witnesses. It can also be signed on your behalf, as long as you’re in the room and it is signed at your direction. This usually happens if someone is blind, illiterate, incapacitated or too unwell to sign the will by themselves. However, they must have the mental capacity to make the will, otherwise the will is invalid.
Any will signed on your behalf must contain a clause saying you understood the contents of the will before it was signed.
If you are have a serious illness or a diagnosis of dementia, you can still make a will, but you need to have 'testamentary capacity' (mental capacity to make a will) to make sure it is valid. Your solicitor should make sure of this, and you may need a medical practitioner’s statement at the time the will is signed, certifying that you understood what you signed.
Your signature to the will must be witnessed by two adults. They must also sign the will in your presence.
The witnesses or their husbands, wives or civil partners can’t benefit from the will. If anything has been left to the witnesses, the rest of the will is still valid, but the witness will lose their entitlement to whatever you had intended to leave them.
An executor can witness the will, unless they are a beneficiary.
Free Wills Month offers older people in participating areas the opportunity to have a simple will written free of charge.
All the information and advice we provide on the website is free and completely independent, as is our National Advice Line that is open 365 days a year.
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Our Information guides are short and easy to digest, giving a comprehensive overview of the relevant topic. Factsheets are longer with more detail, and are aimed at professionals.
Wills and estate planning guide
How to be an executor guide
Before you go
Making a will factsheet
You can download other guides in our series from publications
For more information:
Call Age UK Advice: 0800 678 1174
This page was last updated:
22 May 2017
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