How do I know if a Will is valid?

Thursday 20th April 2017

After the death of a family member or loved one, it is very difficult to think about what will happen to their assets and whether they left a Will. It is even more difficult when you are provided with a Will that you were not aware of or feel unsure about and you may need advice about this.

If you think that a Will is invalid it may cause a disagreement between you and another family member, who may be one of the Will’s beneficiaries (a person due to benefit from the Will).

Here are some signs to look out for if you think that a Will is invalid:

  1. The Will must be in writing and be signed by the testator (the person making the Will) or by some other person in his/her presence and by his/her direction.
  2. Check that the signature was provided in the presence of two or more witnesses present at the same time have also signed the Will in the presence of each other.
  3. The witnesses must not be anyone who benefits from the Will.
  4. The person making the Will must have had the mental capacity to understand the effect of the Will at the time it was signed.
  5. Check whether there are any indications that the Will has been altered or amended. Any amendments need to be signed by the testator and two or more witnesses. 
  6. The testator must have been aged 18 or over at the time of making the Will.
  7. The testator must not have been subject to duress or undue influence.


You need to act very quickly if you wish to challenge the validity of a Will as it is preferable to do this before a Grant of Probate is obtained by the Executor, who is usually named in the Will and is responsible for carrying out the administration of that Will.

There are also ways that you can challenge a valid Will if you feel that you have not been adequately provided for by the person that died. This is by a claim under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975 and must be made within 6 months of the Grant of Probate.

At Marsden Rawsthorn, our Dispute Resolution team deal with many disputes regarding the validity of Wills. Please contact us if you have any concerns and we would be happy to help.

Author: Administrator

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