The Law Commission has made it clear that if a Will is invalid as a result of a technicality then it becomes possible for the courts to consider other evidence. This could include the likes of sound and video recordings as well as digital documents to enable to gain an insight into the intentions of the deceased individual and give effect to them.
However, for a Will to be considered Valid, there are certain formalities that have to be observed when the Will is being written. For example, a Will must be made in writing, signed by the individual making it and there must be two witnesses present when the person who is making the Will signs it and they must sign it too.
The idea behind these formalities is to ensure the individual realises the legalities and seriousness of making a Will while it all acts as proof that it was the deceased who made the Will and intended it to have a legally binding effect.
It is vital to ensure that the signing procedure for the Will is followed correctly as the validity of the Will would only be challenged following the death of the testator and when they are no longer here to provide evidence in person.
There are no requirements for a Will to be dated to make it valid although the majority of Wills include a date. It’s particularly important, if there is more than one Will, as the last Will they made is the one that will be used. Despite the formalities of having a Will made in writing, signed and witnessed there are some exceptions to this. Someone who is in the armed forces while on active service will be able to make a Will orally and without any witnesses or signature.
Under normal circumstances, if the formalities are not followed, then a Will becomes invalid and that could mean that a previous Will becomes active again or the rules of intestacy are implemented.
As far as invalid Wills go, the Law Commission has stated that if the intentions of the deceased are clear and the Will is invalid as a result of a small technical issue then the courts can consider it as valid. So, it might be as simple as submitting an application to the court to help put any wishes into action but it highlights the importance of ensuring all formalities are followed from the very beginning.
A Will is a legally binding document and it is one of the most important documents people will make in their lifetime. Therefore, it is not worth risking any potential issues after you pass away by ensuring you cover all of the formalities. If you are unsure of the process then it always makes sense to obtain professional advice and guidance as this will ensure that your Will becomes valid and your wishes will be followed after you pass away.