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What Are the Legal Formalities?

To be valid, a will must be

  • in written form, that is, hand written, typed or word processed, etc
  • dated at the time of signing
  • witnessed by two (2) adults.

The witnesses must be present when the will is signed, and they must sign after the person making the will has signed. It is advisable for everybody to sign with the same pen.

It is much safer legally if the witnesses are not beneficiaries of the will. Similarly, it is safer legally if they are not married to or living with a beneficiary.

Your will does not have to be written in legal jargon, but it is important that your intentions be expressed clearly, especially your directions for distributing the estate.

The exception to the above is the ‘attestation clause’, which is used to identify the signatures of the person making the will and the witnesses. The clause is usually placed at the end of the will with the signatures. The full names and addresses of the witnesses should be given, so they can be located if there is any dispute about the signing of the will.

Next Section: What do I need to include in my will?