Is my home made will valid and enforceable?

Rebecca Parr

A homemade Will can be valid, providing that it meets the strict requirements of section 9 of the Wills Act 1837, which are:

  • That the person making the will (the testator”) is aged over 18 years;
  • The will must be in writing;
  • It must be signed by the testator (the person making the will) or by another person at the Testator’s direction;
  • The testator must have intended to give effect to his or her Will when it was signed; and
  • The signature must be made or acknowledged in the presence of two witnesses, present at the same time, who must attest and sign the will in the presence of the testator.

It should be noted that the above does not apply to persons in active service such as soldiers.

If the legal formalities are not complied with, a homemade Will can be invalid and your estate will not necessarily pass on to your loved ones in accordance with your wishes.

However, whilst these formalities are relatively straightforward, there are many other mistakes which can be made by a person drawing up a homemade Will. For example, letting a beneficiary or executor witness their signature, failing to follow the correct procedure for correcting a mistake, or being unaware of the effect of marriage or a registered civil partnership, which can make certain provisions of a Will open to challenge. 

Whilst there is no legal requirement for a will to be prepared by a solicitor, we strongly recommend that a solicitor is consulted to ensure that your Will is valid, so that you can be sure that your wishes are followed.

If you are concerned that there might be problems with your Will, or if you just want to have it checked to make sure that it meets the legal requirements, we will be happy to do this for free. If you have:

  • drafted your Will yourself;
  • purchased an off-the-shelf will online or from a shop and filled in the blanks yourself;
  • had a Will drawn up by a non-legal specialist such as an accountant or bank; or
  • used a solicitor to prepare your Will

we will be happy to look at it for you, for nothing, and will no obligation. 

Contact one of our specialist team for a free, no obligation chat today.