What Makes a Will Invalid?

Making a Will is one of the best ways to make sure your family is taken care of after you’re gone. This is why it’s so important to know what makes a Will valid, as well as understanding what could make a Will legally void.

In this guide, we’ve answered some of the key questions surrounding this topic, including:

Keep reading to find out more. Or for advice that’s tailored to you, get in touch with our friendly advisors for an initial chat.

How do you make a Will legally binding?

For a Will to be legally recognised, it will need to comply with the 1837 Wills Act. This means that you must be 18 or older with the mental capacity to understand the implications of making a Will. You’ll need to put your wishes into writing, and have this signed by two witnesses in your presence.

There are strict rules surrounding the witnessing of a Will, so it’s always best to check these before signing the document. An experienced Wills, estates and probate solicitor can provide guidance in this area, so you’ll have the reassurance of knowing your Will is legally binding.

Does a change of address invalidate a Will?

Having an old address on your Will won’t necessarily invalidate the document, but it’s always best to update this information when you can. To do this, you could add what’s called a ‘codicil’ to your existing Will.

A codicil is a legally binding document that’s usually used for making small changes to a Will. It will need to be signed and witnessed in the same way that a Will would be, and it should be kept in the same place as your original Will.

We would also suggest keeping a note of any of your named beneficiaries’ or executors’ changes in address. There’s no legal requirement to update these in your Will, but having your own record could help your executor when the time comes to distribute your estate.

I’m getting married – will my Will remain valid?

When you get married, any existing Will you have will automatically become null and void. The only exception to this is if you’ve referenced your upcoming nuptials in your Will, by adding the wording: “in contemplation of marriage to (spouse’s name)”.

This means that if you don’t make a Will in contemplation of marriage or create a new Will after getting married, the law could decide how your estate is distributed when you die. This is known as dying ‘intestate’.

When you die intestate, your spouse will automatically be entitled to the entirety of your estate (up to the value of £270,000). This means that your other beneficiaries – such as children from a previous relationship or siblings – could be left out.

Could my Will be challenged after I die?

In certain circumstances, your Will could be challenged after you pass away. This will usually happen when a family member or close friend feels that they were unfairly excluded from the Will, or that they should have received more from your estate.

When Wills are contested, it can cause additional heartache for your loved ones and lead to costly legal battles. This makes it even more important that your Will is written in a way that leaves no room for speculation or confusion.

Our solicitors are experienced in this area and can help you write a Will that reflects your wishes while remaining legally compliant. To find out more about our services, give us a call on the number at the top of the screen or start your enquiry online.

Note: First4Lawyers offers this information as guidance, not advice. Before taking any action, you should seek professional assistance tailored to your personal circumstances.


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