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Executing a Will is the legal term for signing a Will and making it legally enforceable. Although the process is not complicated, if it’s not done properly, the Will is not valid.
What are the formalities of executing a will?
Section 9 of the Wills Act 1837 provides that, to be valid, you must sign your Will “in the presence of two or more witnesses present at the same time.” During lockdown, this presented a problem, so the Government brought in an amendment to the Wills Act allowing the remote witnessing of Wills. Currently, this amendment will expire in January 2024.
While there is no strict requirement for witnesses to do anything other than sign the Will using their usual signature, it is good practice for them to also print their name, address, and occupation. This is because if there is ever a question raised over whether the Will was properly executed, the witnesses are easier to trace.
How long does it take to execute a Will?
In most cases, executing a Will takes only a few minutes. Where your Will has been drafted by a solicitor, they will provide witnesses for you and supervise the whole execution process.
Do I need a solicitor to execute a Will?
You do not need a solicitor to be present – in person or remotely – when you execute your Will. However, having a solicitor there provides reassurance that the process has been followed correctly.