Signing and witnessing a Will with special requirements

Generally, a Will be signed by the willmaker (testator) in front of two witnesses who each witness the signature and then sign the Will in front of each other.

Though not legally required, the Will usually has an attestation clause towards the end which sets out the circumstances in which the testator signed the Will in the presences of witnesses.

The attestation clause will usually be something along the lines of:

SIGNED by the testator in the presence of both of us being present at the same time and attested by us in the presence of the testator and each other.

The clause simply confirms that the testator and witnesses all signed the Will in front of each other and all witnessed the signatures of each other.

On occasion, a testator may have special requirements for example, if they are blind or unable to sign the Will themself.

It is important that the attestation clause in the Will accurately sets out the circumstances in which the will was signed or the validity of the Will may be challenged at a later date.

In circumstances where the testator is blind and unable to write, it may be necessary for another person to sign the will on their behalf and at their direction. The attestation clause may be amended to:

The testator being blind and unable to read or write, (NAME OF THE PERSON READING THE WILL TO THE TESTATOR) read this Will to the testator in the presence of (NAME OF WITNESSES) and then the testator stated that they knew and approved its contents. Then (NAME OF THE PERSON SIGNING THE WILL FOR THE TESTATOR) signed the Will with the name of the Testator at their request and in the presence of the Testator and both of us, all four persons being present at the same time, and we attested that the signature in the presence of the testator of (NAME OF THE PERSONS SIGNING THE WILL FOR THE TESTATOR) and of each other.

It is important that if the Will is signed at the testator’s direction there is “positive and discernible communication” by the testator that they want they want the Will to be signed on their behalf by another person. It is usually a good idea to prepare evidence at the time the will is signed to ensure any claims that the Will may not be valid can be refuted particularly where it could be many years later and people’s memory may be fading.

Our Will and Probate lawyers are experienced in preparing Wills for clients with various special requirements. We can take the steps to ensure that the Will is validly signed and witness and ensure that the risk of people claiming the Will is invalid are mitigated.

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