To be valid in the eyes of the law, a Last Will and Testament must be created by someone who is in sound mind and who is aware of the contents of the document. The person making the Will (Testator) must not be under pressure (duress), and it must be signed and witnessed.
If a Will fails to meet these terms, it could be deemed invalid. This means the document will be ignored upon the person’s death and their estate/assets will be distributed according to the laws of intestacy, rather than any wishes he/she previously expressed. This could leave family and friends without the provision that had been intended.
It is therefore extremely important to verify that your loved one’s Will is indeed lawful, or he or she could die intestate. A solicitor who specialises in Wills and probate will be able to confirm your position, letting you know if the document is invalid. This might apply if:-
- The testator lacked ability – either permanently due to the loss of capacity, or temporarily due to illness or intoxication.
- The testator was under duress – meaning he or she was put under pressure to sign the document.
- The document was not signed and witnessed properly – a Will must be signed by the testator in the presence of two witnesses. These witnesses must not stand to inherit anything from the Will, nor can they be married to beneficiaries named.
- There is a general error – if the solicitor who drafted the original Will was not competent, or it is a DIY Will, the document may contain errors. This can be enough to deem the Will invalid.
If you are worried that a Will has been fraudulently made, drafted under duress or is invalid for any other reason, contact a lawyer today.
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