What makes a Will invalid?
One common reason our contentious trust and probate team see Wills being disputed is because the Will is believed to be invalid. It is important when making your Will that you understand how a valid Will is made and ensure you take the appropriate steps, to avoid your loved ones having to possibly raise a claim when you have passed away. In this article, we discuss what makes a Will invalid and what to do if you believe your loved one has left behind an invalid Will.
Reasons a Will can be invalid
Many people unknowingly leave behind invalid Wills, reasons can include:
- Your Will hasn’t been executed (signed and witnessed) properly.
- The Will is not written clearly or is left open to misinterpretation/confusion.
- Your Will has been damaged or shows potential tampering (i.e. staple removal marks, paper clip indentations, signs of burning or tearing or has been unbound).
- Contents of the Will have been changed (to make changes to a Will, this should be done so via a supplementary legal document called a codicil, or a newer, up-to-date Will should be made).
- On the date the Will was made and signed, the person who made the will (legally referred to as the Testator) did not have mental capacity at the time.
- If the Will was drafted professionally, and it is proven that improper advice was given, then the Will could potentially be deemed invalid.
What to do if you think your Will is invalid
If you have concerns your own Will is invalid, it is important to seek specialist advice to address your concerns, this can allow you to put your mind at ease knowing your Will is in fact valid, or allow you to make a new, valid Will (and possibly a claim of professional negligence if yours is invalid due to improper advice).
What to do if you believe a loved one’s Will who has passed away is invalid
If you think your loved one has left behind an invalid Will, then it is important to seek specialist legal advice to look at what steps to take next. You must seek advice as early as possible, preferably before a grant of probate has been issued, as there are time limits on when you can contest a Will.
For further advice on making a Will, or if you have concerns regarding an invalid Will, our specialist Wills and Probate, Contentious Trust and Probate and Professional Negligence teams are here to help. Contact us on 0161 427 0084 (Marple Bridge), 01484 442 700 (Holmfirth) or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Written by Zoe Bancroft