HCR Law Events

24 January 2023

Witnessing a will

Drafting your will properly is the only way to pass your assets to the people you care about; getting the right witnesses to validate your wishes is just essential.

Your will should be signed by you in the presence of two independent witnesses. Your witnesses need to be aged 18 or over and must be physically in the same room as you with a clear view of you and the signing.

You should sign your will with your usual signature; all signatures  should be made in ball point pen or ink.

Who can witness a will?

Beneficiaries in your will should not be your witnesses. Spouses or civil partners or future spouses / civil partners of beneficiaries in your will should not be witnesses either . If a beneficiary does act as a witness then they could lose their benefit under your will.

Your two witnesses could be neighbours or work colleagues, for example.

The process

The testator (you) and the two witnesses need to sign and print their names and provide their addresses and occupations where indicated, whilst all three of you are still in the same room.

If any alterations are required, they should be made, then initialled by you and your two witnesses next to the amendment, in the margin. As above, alterations should be made in ball point pen or ink.

Your witnesses do not need to read your will or know what is in it

There should be space to date your will, usually at the end of the main body and on the front page; ensure that the date is consistent throughout.

You should not attach anything to your will, such as pins or paper clips.

If your will has been drafted by a solicitor or other legal professional and  you are unsure about any part of your will, seek clarification before signing the document.

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About the Author
Helen Barkworth, Associate (TEP)

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