The basic formalities required for the execution of a Will are as follows:
The Will must be signed at the end of the document (as opposed to the bottom of the page). This simple provision, which often trips up an inexperienced testator, has led to many Wills being declared invalid.
If the Will consists of a single page, it must be signed at the end of that page.
If the Will consists of more than one page, each page must also be signed by the testator.
Recent amendments to the Act brought about certain relaxations in the execution of Wills, one of which was that the definition of the term ‘signed’ is not limited to refer only to a full signature, but also includes the testator’s initials.
The testator must sign his Will (or confirm his signature) in the presence of two or more competent witnesses, who must be present at the same time.
The witnesses must also sign the Will, although, in their case, they need merely to sign at the end of the document and not on each page if the document consists of more than one page.
The witnesses must sign in the presence of each other and the testator.
For best practice, we recommend that the witnesses sign each page, as well as at the end of the document. We also recommend that all parties sign in full on each page.
It is not necessary to have an attestation clause or even to date a Will for it to be valid. However, it is important to date a Will because it makes it easier to determine the sequence, if the testator has left behind more than one valid Will, and so, to ascertain whether it is the Last Will and Testament or whether the document has since been revoked, or is revoking another Will.
The Act determines that
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